Trucks & SUVs

Stellantis Kills the 2022 Ram Dakota – Could This Be a Massive Mistake?

If you are a fan of small pickup trucks, you have tons of options available. However, you won’t find a Ram Dakota offered for the 2021 or 2022 model year. In fact, Ram is stuck selling just full-size trucks at higher prices. Unfortunately, it seems like things won’t change any time soon.

A new report by GM Authority indicates that Stellantis has officially killed the Dakota’s highly anticipated return. Since the brand is already missing out on this profitable market, let’s see if this latest move is a major mistake.

Is killing the 2022 Ram Dakota a massive mistake?

An image of a black 2005 Dodge Dakota parked inside of a photo studio.
2005 Dodge Dakota | Dodge

If we look at the current small pickup truck market, the Ram Dakota would’ve been a perfect fit. As it stands, the cheapest Ram truck you can buy is the 1500 Classic Tradesman, which starts at $28,700. Aside from the price, the problem here is that the 1500 Classic is still a full-size truck. In contrast, the smaller Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevy Colorado all have a base price of $26,250 or less.

Aside from being an affordable truck, the Ram Dakota could’ve been a sales hit. According to CarSalesBase, Toyota managed to sell 238,806 Tacomas last year. Additionally, the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado managed to sell 101,486 and 96,238 units, respectively. The only offering from Stellantis, the Jeep Gladiator, sold 77,542 units. As a result, missing out on this enormous market could have major repercussions in the long run.

The Ram Dakota could’ve also been a great way to attract first-time buyers to the brand. According to J.D. Power, Ram manages to retain around 57.3 percent of its buyers. With such a high retention rate, these entry-level truck buyers could’ve become lifetime customers.

This is the truck we could’ve had

An image of a black 2005 Dodge Dakota parked inside of a photo studio.
2005 Dodge Dakota | Dodge

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Since the Ram Dakota is reportedly dead, let’s take a look at the truck we could’ve had. According to GM Authority, this all-new model was set to be underpinned by the Jeep Gladiator. This means that a 3.6-liter V6 would’ve likely lived under the hood alongside an eight-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, GM Authority report that this truck likely would’ve gotten the brand’s 3.0-liter diesel engine at some point as well.

If the Gladiator rumors were true, the Ram Dakota could’ve been a serious off-roading machine. This meant it would’ve likely utilized a body-on-frame design such as the best-selling Tacoma. GM Authority reports that there were plans to eventually develop a focused off-roading Rebel trim to compete with offerings from Ford and Chevy.

What about the 2021 Jeep Gladiator?

An image of a black 2005 Dodge Dakota parked inside of a photo studio.
2005 Dodge Dakota | Dodge

Since the Ram Dakota would’ve been Stellantis’ second small pickup truck, let’s look at the Jeep Gladiator. As it stands, the Gladiator is an excellent performer with a stylish aesthetic and plenty of off-roading capabilities.

However, its $33,565 base price makes it significantly more expensive than the best-sellers in the small truck segment. As a result, the Gladiator remains somewhat inaccessible to those important first-time buyers. However, a future two-door model could fix this by bringing down the price. That is if Stellantis decides to build it.

Since Stellantis is currently undergoing massive changes, only time will tell if Ram will become a major competitor in this market once again.