Since Chrysler announced that the current incarnation of the Dodge Dakota would come to an end, it has been assumed and implied that there would be a new version – whether it carried the Dakota name or not. I had a chance to speak with Ram Truck brand CEO Fred Diaz at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show and while Mr. Diaz couldn’t offer any real information on the next generation of the small pickup, he eluded to what we could expect from the next generation of the small Ram pickup. Sources within Chrysler have even gone so far as to say that a concept was built – much smaller than the current Dakota and riding on a unibody platform that would offer far better fuel economy than the current Ram brand lineup but according to Automotive News, it could be a while before we see a new pickup from the Ram Truck brand.
The source informed AN that “discussions for a possible replacement for the mid-sized pickup (read: new Ram Dakota) have been shelved”. This means that we aren’t likely to see a new Dakota any time soon and with Ford putting an end to the Ranger and General Motors considering the future of their Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups – is the era of the compact pickups coming to an end?
The Ram brand has introduced new low priced models like the Tradesman and Express to satisfy the needs of entry level truck buyers – many of which may have first considered the likes of the Dakota. However, with the fuel saving technology applied to the Ram over the past few years and the upcoming 3.6L Pentastar V6 in the full sized truck lineup, the 2012 Ram pickup could be less expensive, more powerful and more efficient than the outgoing Dakota. Ford has made a similar move in offering more lower priced and fuel friendly F150 models to attract young/new buyers rather than the Ranger so perhaps the Chrysler Group plans to sit on the future of the Dakota lineup until the competition shows their midsized pickup hand.
Source: Automotive News
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