Contrary to an earlier report, FCA’s new midsize Ram pickup truck – which may or may not end up being named “Ram Dakota” – might not be built at FCA’s Toledo plants alongside the midsize Jeep Scrambler pickup and Jeep Wrangler JL off-road SUV. According to United Auto Workers Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower, the Toledo North and South plants simply don’t have the capacity necessary to produce the Ram Dakota there, although he’s hoping that room can be made.
“We’d love to build it here and there’s plenty of land to utilize if we need a solution to get it,” Mr. Baumhower told The Toledo Blade. He says that the city of Toledo owns about 100 acres across the street from the FCA Toledo North and South plants that could house a new assembly factory.
Short of that, assembling the new Ram Dakota in Toledo seems like an impossibility, according to Baumhower, as the specifics of Jeep Scrambler production will effectively cut Toledo South output in half to 100k units per year. Toledo North, meanwhile, needs all of its 300k-unit annual production to meet demand for the JL Wrangler.
But contrary to both Baumhower and the September report, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles maintains that the Ram Dakota will likely be built outside of the United States – possibly in Saltillo, Mexico. Late FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne felt that such a plan would make sense given that a majority of sales would probably be in international markets.
Baumhower, who leads the UAW chapter that represents FCA’s 5,000 hourly Toledo workers, hopes to change FCA’s mind. He says that building the Ram Dakota at the complex would be possible with a new, third factory to handle bed assembly, allowing Toledo South to focus on cab assembly.