Could a Ram 1500 Dakota fill in for a midsize pickup? (Updated)

Stellantis has a trademark on the name “Dakota,” and working on a replacement for the Ram 1200 (Mitsubishi L1200). Compact and midsize trucks are a hot market in the United States now, with the Tacoma, Ranger, Colorado, and Gladiator all fighting it out—but the Gladiator isn’t a practical high-volume truck for Ram.

Making a Ram Dakota

Could the company create a transitional truck while it waits for its engineers to finish a true midsize pickup? The downside is it would be expensive to engineer and tool for it, and it might fail in the market; but on the upside, it could be a recession-fighter, if pricey pickups suddenly became unattainable for most buyers. There are more positives, but let’s talk about the structure first.

This Ram Dakota would have a six-foot-four bed, “regular” cab, and a single row of seats. it could be based on either be the “DS” Ram Classic or the newer “DT,” depending on build costs when stripped down to basics. The  goal would be to use existing parts, but to cut the price. It would also have a suspension drop, though this would reduce the payload, to be more manageable and more garageable. The truck shown in the illustration above, subjected to an amateur shrinking, would be too high up in the air for even a temporary Dakota.

The name might be a handy way to re-introduce Dakota, before the real, brand new, ground-up truck comes in. This would only be a minor problem if the idea took off—the smallest big truck would be a new spin on Chrysler’s historic approach of making the biggest small car or truck.

Who would buy this monster? There are a few possible markets, including people who need or want a truck but who don’t have the space for a Ram 1500. This could be people with short driveways, short garages, and so on. There’s also a market of people who aren’t six feet tall, and who find it hard to load the bed of the current Ram, F-150, and Silverado. Drop the body (because you wouldn’t need Ram 1500 payloads), and you would have a vehicle that’s easier to get into and out of, and easier to load.

The Ram 1500’s smallest length is 233 inches, 13 inches longer than a 1979 Dodge Ram D-150 with an eight foot bed; the Gladiator is 218 inches long. Not everyone needs two rows of seats or an eight foot bed.

It’s an unlikely scenario, but sometimes adapting a mainstream vehicle into a niche can yield a surprising number of additional sales.

Idea: “Mopar Don”

3 thoughts on “Could a Ram 1500 Dakota fill in for a midsize pickup? (Updated)”

  1. What frustrates me about all of this is that once again Chrysler is a day late and a dollar short! They have had literally years to come up with any sort of design, and only now are getting around to it? This is absolute B.S. What are they paying their designers for ?
    Please don’t give me any crap about merger either, between Fiat and Ram and Iveco they should have had a design ready years ago. This is just incompetence and laziness on the part of design. Is there not ONE person at Chrysler Group looking to the future? What has Ralph Gilles been doing for the last 5 years? Doesn’t anyone doodle anymore or look at the competition? Really shameful, just like the lack of planning for Chrysler and Dodge, but even worse, IMO as Ram had funding and sales to justify future model plans. I’m disgusted by what I’m seeing lately, sad to say. The old Chrysler is long gone.

    • Not design, management. Chrysler has been cursed with highly incompetent (even relative to the term, as all management is by definition incompetent) management. See the idiotic infighting within Chrysler between divisions going back seemingly since the beginning and the German Occupation as prime examples. Or the current lineup at Chrysler and Dodge, and the split off of the trucks from the Dodge name. Look at the Caliber, and not releasing the original Hornet concept as a production car. Hell, until the sales numbers came in, Chrysler management was pissed about the Duster. Chrysler as a whole is a long line of idiotic management decisions, which hobbled the company, leading to bankruptcy and bailout and lost marketshare.

      When the designers are allowed to work, they can do some great things. Problem is, they rarely get to. Look at the Charger and Challenger. Lets just run the same design for nearly a decade and see if sales improve!

  2. Personally I think they need to do like they did for my current truck. 96 dodge dakota slt has the 5.2l
    It’s good for all heights of ppl and it’s got the power needed from a 1500 or better
    My dakota has never without reason let me down. And I out haul most these new 1509 trucks towing as well.
    I’d buy one right now if they did.

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