Ram Still Can't Commit to Midsize Pickups for Some Reason
As semi-recent data has shown, the most popular vehicle in your state is probably a Ford F-150. And if it isn’t one of those, it’s a Ram 1500. Or a Toyota Tacoma. Or a Silverado. Point is, it probably has a bed. Given this, you’d imagine Stellantis would see purpose in manufacturing a new midsize truck to pick up (I’m sorry) where the Dakota left off more than a decade ago. And yet, there’s apparently been no rush.
Mike Koval, chief executive of the Ram brand, recently told Automotive News that he might shop around a proposal for such a vehicle to dealers this spring:
“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,” Koval told Automotive News at the Detroit auto show. “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.”
You’d imagine that if Koval and company have something to present, they’re serious about bringing a midsize truck to market; you’d also imagine that dealers wouldn’t mind another pickup to sell. Stellantis has somewhat filled the need by continuing to offer the prior-gen Ram 1500 as the Ram Classic for a bargain price, but the thing about smaller trucks is that the customers who want them really want them, specifically. It’s a different sort of buyer, as AutoForecast Solutions’ Sam Fiorani told The Detroit News:
“It’s become a really competitive new frontier,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC. “It doesn’t seem like too much of the new volume is cannibalizing full-size sales. It’s bringing younger buyers into the fold and hopefully keeping them into the fold to buy a full-size truck later on.”
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Now, Ram does pretty well for not offering a smaller option. Consider that Ford sold about 726,000 F-Series pickups last year per GoodCarBadCar, and Ram wasn’t terribly far behind at 647,000. (Note that those are sales across the model range — not just half-ton pickups.) Meanwhile, Toyota moved some 250,000 Tacomas in 2021, the best selling midsize nameplate in the U.S.
It’s not necessary for Ram to play in that space, but it is a space that is significant and only growing over time. You have to go back to 2018 to find the last 12-month period when Toyota sold less than 200,000 Tacomas, for example. I’m sure Ram will have something to offer eventually; it’s just kind of strange that it’s taken it this long, despite the repeated, supposed interest.