Fiat Chrysler Might Build a Big SUV and a Small Pickup Truck
Not doing so could mean leaving big money on the table.
General Motors and Ford could have some serious competition headed their way. In order to grow its lineup, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may add a large SUV and a midsized truck to the mix. The new SUV, which would presumably be larger than the existing Dodge Durango, would face up against the likes of the Chevy Tahoe-slash-GMC Yukon—as well as the Ford Expedition, which apparently still exists.
As the Detroit Free Press notes, Mike Manley, head of Jeep and Ram, said it would not be difficult to modify the Ram pickup's platform into a body-on-frame SUV. Manley was looking ahead to the introduction of the next-generation Ram lineup, which is scheduled to arrive in 2018. The executive believes an improved frame, which could come with the next Ram, could be even better suited for a new large SUV.
"You have the opportunity with a new frame for the next-generation Ram," Manley said. "You have the opportunity to take a large SUV off of it because we already have a very, very capable frame today that is going to be upgraded."
The small truck FCA might build would likely fill the spot the Dodge Dakota used to occupy. This would allow it to slot under the Ram 1500, and would be marketed squarely against the new Chevy Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma. The Dakota name has not been used since the truck was discontinued in 2011, but it could easily be resurrected; we all know how much Dodge loves to revive old names and models (Charger, Challenger, Dart, etc.).
The lack of a massive SUV and a smaller pickup means FCA is missing out on a huge amount of potential sales. Last year, GM sold over 200,000 Tahoes, Suburbans, Yukons, and Escalades. Which is, well, a lot of trucks—and a lot of money, as GM reportedly makes at least $10,000 in profit on every one of those vehicles. And the long-dormant small truck market has been blowing up recently; the Detroit Free Pressreports the Toyota Tacoma has seen a seven percent rise in sales and purchases of the Nissan Frontier have spiked up 29.3 percent. Add in the new Honda Ridgeline and the GM Colorado/Canyon twins, and it seems clear that any new small pickup truck in FCA's showrooms will face plenty of competition.