Ram is developing a new midsize pickup truck to take on the Ford Ranger.
The midsize pickup market is booming. Earlier this year, Ford unveiled the new Ranger pickup as it returned home after spending 7 years abroad. Jeep also got in on the action, revealing the 2020 Jeep Gladiator as the midsize Wrangler pickup we’d always wanted.
That left Ram out in the cold. Sure, the 2019 Ram 1500 is a great pickup, but it’s not quite small enough to be considered a midsizer, and Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley wants a piece of that midsize pie.
According to a new report from Automotive News, Manley said that Ram is "focused on solving a metric ton midsize truck solution for us because it's a big part of the portfolio and growth we want to achieve."
But the sticking point is finding a way to develop a new midsize pickup cheaply. Currently, Ram has nothing in their lineup that they can adapt into a smaller pickup. The last midsize pickup was the Dodge Dakota (and for the last two years of its life, the Ram Dakota) which was discontinued in North America due to falling midsize sales along with the Ford Ranger.
Unlike the Ranger, FCA didn’t continue selling the Dakota overseas, so they don’t have anything to take advantage of the resurgence of midsize pickup popularity. The midsize market grew 13% in the first four months of 2019, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
The only option that even remotely comes close is FCA’s deal with Mitsubishi to sell the L200 Triton pickup as the Ram 1200 in the Middle East. The Triton is a fine machine, but it’s 2.4-L four-cylinder engine only makes 175 hp in its most potent configuration which is downright anemic in the North American market.
We’re not sure if the Triton can fit a larger engine under the hood. If it can’t, then Ram really has to start from scratch or find another partner they can buy a midsize pickup from and rebadge it as theirs.