Confirmed: Small Ram Rampage Pickup Will Be Sold in America
The new compact Ram pickup was spied testing in Colorado, and an inside source tells us a North American debut is coming soon.
Ever since Ram confirmed it was developing a new compact pickup truck for South America, rumors have swirled about the model being brought up here to the states as well. Those gained steam this week when the company confirmed it'll be called the Ram Rampage—a name plucked from the 1980s Dodge Rampage, another unibody pickup sold here—and showed off a 1500-derived design that could easily slot into the domestic lineup. And now, a well-sourced informant with inside knowledge of Stellantis plans has told The Drive that the Ram Rampage will indeed be brought to the U.S. market, with a debut scheduled for later this year.
The source relayed the information today as a pair of Ram Rampage prototypes were spotted on the road in Colorado, one of which is pictured below. Automakers test foreign market cars here all the time, true. What's slightly odd is how heavy the camouflage is when Ram's already shown the design and other prototype Rampages have been spotted and shown with much sleeker wraps. Is it hiding styling differences that'll be unique to America?
Skepticism is understandable. Vehicles made for emerging markets usually can't be sold here for a number of reasons, and the Rampage is set to be the rare exception to the rule. The biggest obstacle is the 25% Chicken Tax levied on light trucks imported into America; as of now, the Rampage is only confirmed to be built in Brazil. But Stellantis has a number of options for getting around it. One interesting possibility, as pointed out by The Autopian, is using production lines at its Toluca Assembly plant in Mexico, which right now just builds the Jeep Compass—which conveniently shares a platform with the Rampage.
Beyond that, Ram's hardly been quiet about considering a small truck for the U.S. market. Last fall, former CEO Mike Koval said the company was "actively and aggressively" looking at how to make it happen. He was replaced by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis as part of a broader executive reshuffle this week, but if you like reading between the lines, the press release announcing that news highlighted Kuniskis' "rich understanding of the North American market." So he's probably aware that Ford can't build enough Mavericks to meet the demand for compact pickups, and even the unusual Hyundai Santa Cruz is winning new buyers.
Koval also showed what was described as an electrified midsize pickup to a bunch of Ram dealers in March, and it's not clear if it was this—which does appear to be a bit bigger than the Ford Maverick—or a body-on-frame true midsize rival to the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma. Either way, Ram only sells full-size pickups in the U.S. at present, and it hasn't offered anything smaller since it discontinued the Dakota in 2011.
Available powertrains should include the 2.0-liter "Hurricane 4" turbo used in other Stellantis products like the Jeep Wrangler, where it makes 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and a ZF nine-speed transmission. A 2.2-liter turbodiesel is also under consideration, at least until a PHEV and then full-electric version come online in a few years. Further, the Rampage will be offered with a full suite of Big Horn, Laramie, R/T, and Rebel trims to match the 1500 half-ton.
A lot of unknowns still remain, but right now, the Ram Rampage is on track to bring the fight to the Ford Maverick here at home. Those American flag details in the taillights have a point after all.
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