New midsize pickup not in Ram's plans

Don\'t expect a Dakota replacement anytime soon.

A new report brings grim tidings for midsize pickup fans: Ram doesn't have any immediate plans to field a successor to the Dakota.

As recently as last summer, Chrysler had suggested that it might seek to lure in younger buyers with an inexpensive, fuel-efficient small pickup marketed under its Ram truck division. The automaker was rumored to be considering a unibody platform as the basis for the new truck.

However, Ram CEO Reid Bigland revealed in a recent interview with Car and Driver that the brand isn't currently moving to develop a smaller sibling for the Ram 1500.

Though he voiced praise for the "theory” behind mid-size pickups, Bigland stated that the business case for developing a modern example with significantly better mileage than today's increasingly fuel-thrifty full-size trucks simply doesn't add up, especially factoring in the necessity of a base price below $22,000.

In the course of the wide-ranging interview, Bigland also touched on several new details pertaining to Ram's upcoming ProMaster City compact van. Because the brand is currently focusing on several critical product launches - including its full-size ProMaster Van, its HD pickups and the Ram 1500 diesel - the ProMaster City won't arrive in dealerships for another 18-24 months.

When it does finally make it to these shores, the Fiat Doblo-based van will be offered as a passenger hauler in addition to the previously-announced commercial model - which makes good sense, as all ProMaster City be imported to the U.S. with rear seats to avoid being hit with the "chicken tax.”

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