In a conference call held in late October, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the automaker was looking at the possibility of producing a full-size Ram SUV. The development and production costs of such a vehicle would be low and the profit margins high, making the idea a ‘no-brainer’ in the eyes of industry analysts.
Because the three-row Ram SUV would be developed and produced alongside the next-generation of Ram pickups, it would be an inexpensive product for RAM to bring to market. Marchionne noted the segment is the “near-exclusive use of some others,” referencing General Motors and its body-on-frame Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, but also believes Ram stands “a reasonable chance of getting at least part of that market.”
“It’s a real no-brainer when you look at potential profit margins, but CAFE requirements are looming,” AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan told Automotive News. “Marchionne has been looking for a new currency printing press and an SUV based on a pickup is a relatively easy solution, from a development and investment perspective.”
It’s still early, but the outlook for the RAM SUV is good. The RAM 1500 pickup is expected to move to a much larger and more advanced production facility when the next-generation model is brought to market, and it could possibly support the production of both the full-size RAM SUV and pickup.
One minor issue is the potential product overlap between the RAM SUV and the incoming three-row Jeep Grand Wagoneer. But while the RAM SUV would be body-on-frame and more utilitarian, the Grand Wagoneer would be more of a luxury product and aimed at offerings from Land Rover.