Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is considering adding a full-size, body-on-frame SUV to its lineup, as well as a mid-size pickup to replace the Dakota that disappeared after the 2011 model year.
In a recent interview with USA Today, Jeep and Ram boss Mike Manley said FCA's lack of a big SUV to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe and forthcoming redesigned Ford Expedition means the brand is missing out on big profits. And adding a mid-size pickup would get Ram into a segment where GM, Toyota and Honda have made big splashes recently.
Dodge's Durango (built on a unibody platform shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee) is nearly as large as the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, but it gives up 500 kg (1,100 lbs) of towing capacity to those trucks. The current Ford Expedition will tow up to about 4,200 kg (9,200 lbs) when properly equipped, and the next-gen model will sport weight-saving aluminum bodywork that could boost its towing capacity even further.
Interestingly, while a future full-size utility would share underpinnings with the next-gen Ram 1500, it would probably be branded a Dodge.
FCA's Manley said the company is also taking another look at a mid-size pickup truck, a decision we think is two years overdue. GM can hardly build enough of its Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, and the success of those two models is helping draw attention to other recent mid-size models like the Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline. Even Nissan's aging Frontier is enjoying a late-stage sales surge, and Ford is rumoured to be working on its own mid-sizer that will bring back the Ranger nameplate.
At the moment, Jeep is the FCA brand making headlines. It will soon add a pickup model to its lineup, and it's not much of a stretch to consider a Ram mid-sizer would share at least some DNA with it. Jeep is also apparently looking at a pair of upscale -- and, possibly, larger -- Wagoneer SUV models positioned above its Grand Cherokee, but it's more likely these will be based on the Durango/Grand Cherokee unibody and not a Ram-based body-on-frame design.