We’ve got a lot more details about the Fiat Strada mini-truck about to debut in South America and Mexico. Why is this significant? Because Ram could rebadge the Strada as an entry-level Ram pickup for the US. In Mexico, this is called the Ram 700. It’s a unibody small pickup similar in size to 1970s mini-trucks. We know that Ford is already developing or is about to start developing an entry-level pickup called Courier. Ram could beat Ford and GM to this new segment without even having to rebadge it.
A new Ram mini-truck under $10,000 would be the perfect post-pandemic pickup
A little pickup for under $10,000 would be the perfect truck for the recession we know is here. The pandemic has left many millions out of work or with substantially less disposable income. So, while this wouldn’t have been considered back in January, all of a sudden it is extremely relevant.
In Brazil, the Strada holds 60% of this market so we know it has appeal. Right now the lower end of the US pickup segment is made up of Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Ford Ranger. Going downmarket makes a lot of sense and won’t cannibalize the midsize pickups above it.
All of the manufacturers are looking to replace discontinued sedans with new SUVs and pickups
All of the manufacturers have cut slower-selling sedans in an effort to gain the maximum amount of return for their new-model investments. As a result, all of them have looked to replace those sedans with more pickup and SUV variants. A pickup like the Strada fills in for vehicles like the Chevy Spark, Ford Focus, and Chrysler 200.
Strada comes in both two-and four-doors. They have a large interior for their size and also a large pickup bed. Engines include a 1.4-liter with 88 hp and a 1.3-liter with 110 hp. Both are hooked to a five-speed manual transmission, the only trans available in the Strada.
A new Ram mini-truck would need something a little more powerful than the 1.3-liter
The 1.3-liter would work here as a base powertrain but there would need to be something with a little more grunt to satisfy US customers. An automatic would be welcome as well. This is all doable stuff for Ram to pull off.
Inside things are a bit spartan which you would expect. A seven-inch touchscreen is currently available so the Strada has tech features. Possibly a slightly upmarket interior could be appropriate with a higher trim model.
There are already three trim models: Endurance, Freedom, and as the top-level there is the Volcano. No, we’re not kidding, it really is called Volcano.
A possible timeline for launching the Strada in the US
The coronavirus crisis has pushed everything back including Strada production. It is now scheduled to begin production in the summer. Fiat Chrysler could build up initial Strada supplies through the rest of 2020 and into 2021. Then it could announce the Ram 700 in the US for spring 2021 availability as a 2022 model.
A small, car-like pickup is just the answer for competing with the Hyundai Santa Fe and the aforementioned Courier from Ford. Ram could even choose to resurrect the name of its last unibody pickup; the Rampage. It’s the perfect name for the perfect little truck for these post-pandemic times.