“The biggest white space opportunity for our brand to grow, has been the midsize pickup”

Snapshot

  • Smaller Ram ute under consideration
  • Potentially reviving Dakota nameplate
  • Huge volume segment in Australia

Ram doesn’t offer a mid-size ute in the United States, but that could change if dealers show interest in a new vehicle.

It’s been 11 years since Ram offered the Dakota mid-size ute in North America. Reports in 2020 suggested that Ram had again trademarked the Dakota nameplate – it would make sense for a Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger rival to wear that badge.

“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,” Ram CEO, Mike Koval, told Automotive News.

In the United States, full-size pick-up trucks are the most popular – with Ford’s F-150 the country’s best-selling vehicle. We’re seeing increased demand for full-size pick-ups in Australia with Ram 1500s converted to right-hand-drive in Melbourne.

Why would Ram make a one-tonne ute?

While Australia may be falling in love with full-sized trucks, one-tonne utes still outsell them significantly. In August 2022, Ford sold 4497 4X4 and 4X2 Rangers, while Ram shifted 499 1500s.

A new competitor in the mid-size segment from Ram therefore has more global prospects, as Koval pointed out to Automotive News.

“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 mid-size pickup”

Australia isn’t the only market where mid-size utes are popular. It’s a significant segment in North America as well, where the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger dominate.

Export markets for a mid-size ute are broader than a full-size truck, and include South American countries and South Africa. Even Europeans are starting to fall for the one-tonner.

What would a one-tonne Ram look like?

We can expect some of the Ram 1500’s signature design details to feature, such as the crisp LED headlights and imposing grille.

According to Randy Dye, chairman of the Stellantis United States dealer council, the one-tonne Ram won’t ‘just’ be a shrunken 1500.

To work, it will need to be “a little more youthful version of our truck… Obviously, there’s going to be some luxury associated with it. I think it’s going to be more about being sporty and being youthful,” Dye said to Automotive News.

A one-tonne Ram ute is still a long way from reality. But if dealer response in the United States is positive, it’s a vehicle that has plenty of Australian potential.

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