Ram has long been rumoured to be developing a rival to the Ford Ranger, and the brand’s CEO says it may finally unveil a concept to its dealers.
Automotive News reports word from Ram CEO Mike Koval Jr. that the Stellantis brand is considering showing its dealers an early concept of a “mid-sized” (aka Ranger-sized) pickup truck in March “to gauge their interest”.
It’s unclear whether this would be a rendering or a physical mock-up.
“We’ve always said we know that on a global basis, probably the biggest area, the biggest white space opportunity for our brand to grow, has been the midsize pickup,” Mr Koval told Automotive News.
“We’re looking at it, believe me, I am. We’ll see, but I am thinking about bringing it and giving our dealers a sneak peek.”
The brand last offered a vehicle in this segment in North America with the Ram (née Dodge) Dakota, discontinued in 2011.
A rebadged Fiat Fullback, itself a lightly restyled Mitsubishi Triton, was subsequently sold in the Middle East and Africa as the Ram 1200 from 2016 to 2019.
Stellantis currently offers only the Jeep Gladiator in this segment, though it’s a more off-road focused vehicle that’s not targeted directly at the likes of the Ranger.
Beyond its 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, Ram also currently sells compact utes – rebadged Fiat Toro and Strada models – in some Latin American markets. Mr Koval told Autoblog the brand could sell these outside of Latin America, perhaps in response to the success of the Ford Maverick in North America.
While the Toyota Tundra struggles against the likes of the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 in overall sales, the smaller Tacoma – North America’s equivalent to the HiLux – dominates the so-called mid-sized pickup truck segment, and has been the segment’s best seller for 17 years in the US.
The Tacoma’s status as the segment’s top dog has been further cemented by Ford, Chevrolet, GMC and Ram’s earlier departures from this segment. Ford axed the Ranger in the US in 2011, returning in 2019, while the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon were absent between 2012 and 2015.
Indeed, the Tacoma outsold the next best-selling vehicle in this segment – the Ranger – by more than two-to-one in 2021 according to Carsalesbase.
But the new Ranger will soon make its way to North America, while a redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon duo will reach showrooms there in 2023.
This segment also has greater global significance than the larger Ram 1500’s segment, given the availability of models like the Ranger and HiLux in markets like Australia, Europe and Asia.
It’s unclear what a Dakota successor will look like, though Stellantis last year teased in wireframe a new mid-sized electric pickup among a fleet of vehicles on the new STLA Large platform for the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands.
This will slot in underneath an electric 1500 counterpart on the STLA Frame architecture, which will be previewed in November with the Revolution concept. A production version will launch in 2024.
Vehicles on the STLA Large architecture that will underpin the smaller of the two trucks will offer 400V or 800V technology and battery packs measuring 101 to 118kWh.
They’ll offer up to 800km of range, and feature both single- and dual-electric motor powertrain set-ups.
STLA Frame vehicles will feature 159kWh to 200kWh batteries and offer up to 800km of range.
Vehicles on both platforms will use electric motors which each produce between 150kW and 330kW of power, which could mean 660kW dual-motor powertrains are on the menu.