Last week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced the return of a midsize pickup truck to the Ram Trucks product line – a vehicle that we’ve gone ahead and started calling the “Dakota”, after Dodge’s discontinued midsize pickup from 1987 through 2011. With a midsize truck from FCA’s rugged Jeep brand also on the way, it would only make sense for the two to share a frame unique from the full-size underpinnings of the full-size Ram 1500, although the automaker has yet to confirm any such detail.
Automotive News posed the question in a recent piece, jotting down the thoughts of AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan. According to him, the Jeep Scrambler and Ram Dakota will likely share a breadth of parts, distinguishing themselves with different cabins and different rear axles. Both trucks, he says, could even be built at the same plant.
“FCA has enough capacity in Toledo for both,” he says, referring to the Toledo Complex in Ohio where the Jeep Wrangler is built. That rugged off-roader also utilizes body-on-frame construction, and as we see it, there’s no reason the all-new JL’s ladder frame couldn’t be reworked to support a pair of pickups, although it appears the suspension mount points would need to be relocated.
Little else is known about the forthcoming Jeep Scrambler and Ram Dakota. Here in North America, both pickups will go up against the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon and the just-reborn Ford Ranger. Doubtless the Jeep Scrambler will be the more offroad-oriented of the two FCA midsize pickups, carrying the DNA of the iconic Wrangler SUV. Power will likely come from the same 2.0-liter turbo I4 and 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 petrol engines, while the question of whether FCA’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel will be on offer is a toss-up.
Previously, Fiat Chrysler had maintained it had no desire to reenter the North American midsize pickup market, but the success of the Colorado/Canyon has made the segment difficult to ignore. The Chevrolet Colorado has gained popularity in the US each year since 2014, peaking at nearly 113k sales last year. So far this year, sales are up significantly yet again.