Is this Ram's upcoming small pickup?

Ram could be readying a new compact pickup truck.

A new prototype spotted on the roads around Auburn Hills suggests that Fiat Chrysler could be planning to introduce an entry-level Ram pickup truck model.

Although covered in heavy camouflage, our spies have identified this prototype as being based on the South American-market Fiat Strada. Fiat has already imported several of its European truck models to the U.S. market, including the Ram ProMaster, so it stands to reason that the Strada could be the next global product to hit our shores.

Like Ram's other Fiat-derived models, it's possible the Strada could be treated to very minor cosmetic updates for the U.S. market, such as new grilles and bumpers. However, that's not to say there wouldn't be significant changes for the demanding North American truck market. This prototype looks to have an extended wheelbase to accommodate a longer bed and a four-door cab.

Judging by the prototype's exposed suspension, the Ram version of the Strada will remain simple and rugged.

Possible powertrains for the Ram Strada remain a mystery, but our men on the ground said this mule had a distinct diesel exhaust note. But even if the Strada is offered with a diesel, a gas alternative will almost certainly be on offer.

Fiat Chrysler's recent five-year plan made no mention of a smaller Ram pickup, but we have been hearing rumors of a so-called "lifestyleā€¯ truck for the last several years. Whether Fiat will sell a version of the Strada remains to be seen, but this could be the first sign of an interesting new development at Ram.

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