Fiat Chrysler Automobiles returned to the midsize truck market in the United States with the reintroduction of the Jeep Gladiator. Built in Toledo, the midsize off-roader not only has best-in-class towing for a gasoline-powered mid-size pickup, but it's also able to run the Rubicon trail without difficulty. But the buyer of a Jeep pickup is different than the buyer of a traditional midsize truck. The question becomes, will FCA have a Ram competitor to the Ranger, Colorado, and Tacoma? The answer, maybe.
According to a report in Automotive News, it is a top concern for Mike Manley and the team at Ram Trucks. During an earnings call, Manley said the company is looking into a "midsize truck solution," adding, "it's a big part of the portfolio and growth we want to achieve."
Manley and team, however, need to find the right platform and right place to build the truck so the truck is cost-effective. On the call, Manley said, "I want that problem solved, frankly, because it's a clear hole in our portfolio. It will not be filled by Gladiator because Gladiator is a very, very different mission. Trust me, they're focused on it. We need to get it fixed soon."
That seems like a pretty clear admission that FCA, and Ram in particular, is working on a midsize pickup truck for the U.S. market; along with the ability to take it to a global market. We like the Gladiator quite a bit, but it's something that might not have as broad of an appeal as a traditional pickup. The Ram 1500 and Ram Heavy Duty are the best they've ever been, but they are also the biggest and most expensive they've ever been as well. A midsize offering could help offer younger buyers a more attractive option. Plus, a reduced size compared to its siblings means it's more likely to fit in a garage.
The 2011 model year Dodge Dakota was the last midsize pickup offered by FCA. Around that time, other midsize trucks like the Colorado and Ranger, likewise, went away. But now, midsize trucks have seen a resurgence and it's quickly becoming a market-driving segment. Both the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado are back in big ways. And the ever-present Toyota Tacoma is still a perennial favorite in the class. Now seems as good a time as any to see a proper Ram competitor.