Imagine this but newPhoto: Dodge
As part of the United Auto Workers union’s tentative deal with Stellantis, the automaker formerly known as Fiat-Chrysler agreed to reopen its factory in Belvidere, Illinois, The Drive reports. Stellantis then officially confirmed plans to use that factory to build a midsize pickup truck. Yes, you read that correctly, folks. Whether it’s actually sold as the Ram Dakota or something else, the spirit of the Dakota is finally making a comeback.
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At this point, all we know is that Ram will build a midsize pickup truck. Literally, that’s it. So it sounds like the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier will have some new competition. And considering how good the current Ram 1500 is, we wouldn’t be surprised if the new Dakota ends up being one of the best trucks, if not the best truck, in the segment.
It’s also not exactly a surprising announcement. The timing may have been unexpected, but come on. How does Ram, a company that only sells trucks, not have a midsize truck in its lineup in the year twenty-twenty-gat-dang-three? With the turmoil in the automotive industry at the time and declining interest in midsize trucks, we can understand why Ram gave the Dakota the axe, but more than a decade later, it’s hard to understand how executives could look at the popularity of the midsize truck segment and not see the business case for something smaller than the Ram 1500.
That said, even though UAW Vice President Rich Boyer used the term “midsize,” The Drive thinks there’s a chance that Ram’s new truck may not actually be a Ranger or Tacoma competitor. Instead, it believes what we’ll actually get is a smaller unibody truck aimed at the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz. We’re not entirely sure we buy that theory, but at the same time, we wouldn’t exactly complain if Ram decided to sell something smaller and more affordable. Then again, considering how popular the midsize segment is and how much demand there is for the Maverick, why shouldn’t Ram simply offer both?