Smaller Ram ute could fight Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger

Article from Drive.com.au

Ram Trucks is watching the Australian four-wheel drive ute market “very closely”, according to a top executive.

US giant Ram Trucks is eyeing a smaller pick-up to compete with the top-selling Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger in Australia.

A senior executive for global automotive conglomerate Stellantis – which covers Ram, Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat, Alfa Romeo among others – says the runaway success and growth of the “mid-size” pick-up market has not gone unnoticed in Detroit.

During the Australian media preview for the Jeep Grand Cherokee L last week, Billy Hayes, a senior executive for Stellantis in India and the Asia-Pacific told Drive: “We aren’t going to talk about future product. But what I can say is, we are watching the (ute) space very closely, especially given the size of the segment here in Australia.”

Ram Dakota Australia

“If we have a Ram in that segment, it will be very ‘Ram’,” said Mr Hughes, who added: “When you talk about Ram, you talk about towing, you talk about power. But you also think about luxury.”

The international Stellantis executive said: “There are a lot of similarities between Ram and Jeep in a lot of ways. It’s all about capability, the durability is there.”

The mid-sized Ram Dakota – which sat below the full-sized 1500 as a competitor to the Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier (Navara), Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma – was discontinued in the United States in 2011.

Ram Dakota Australia

Back then, the Dakota was powered by a 3.7-litre V6 (156kW) or a 4.7-litre V8 (225kW), had a towing capacity of up to 3265kg and a payload of up to 816kg.

While a new mid-sized pick-up from Ram is yet to be confirmed for the Australian market, development of such a vehicle was announced by then CEO Mike Manley in June 2018. However it is unclear if the project was paused or is still progressing full speed ahead.

The car maker then confirmed last July a new mid-size pick-up was in development for launch by 2026 – but with all-electric power, and on a monocoque platform shared with passenger cars and SUVs, rather than a larger ute’s body-on-frame chassis.

There have been reports of the Ram mid-size pick-up being delayed, as Ram focuses on delivering the larger and more profitable fully-electric 1500 for 2024.

-0

However, the mid-sized ute segment is a clear gap in Ram’s portfolio. And it’s a segment that is growing globally.

In recent years, respected industry journal Automotive News has reported Ram will build a new Ford Ranger-sized model alongside the Jeep Gladiator in Toledo, Ohio – though this was prior to the company’s inclusion in the Stellantis group, following former parent FCA’s merger with Peugeot.

This would have seen the mid-sized Ram ute share parts with the Jeep Gladiator, which itself has pinched a few components (such as rear suspension) from the larger Ram 1500.

-0

This would have made the venerable 3.6-litre petrol V6 (210kW/344Nm) possible as a powertrain, along with the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 that is used in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Gladiator in the United States.

This diesel engine makes 179kW and 597Nm when it was used in the Ram 1500 in Australia, and would have made for a competitive choice against other utes with a V6 diesel. However, whether a diesel-powered mid-size Ram pick-up is still planned is unclear.

Ram Trucks are available in Australia in both older DS and newer DT generations, with the 5.7-litre petrol V8 Ram 1500 being the high volume seller. It’s also available as a heavy-duty Ram 2500 and 3500, which in powered by a 6.7-litre Cummins inline-six diesel.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *