Ram’s main man Bob Hegbloom has seemingly put the nail in the Dakota’s coffin. He says the numbers just don’t add up for Ram to reenter the midsize truck game. And it’s all to do with higher fuel economy.

Hegbloom began with a history lesson during in his interview with Automotive News, saying the 1980s were the heyday of midsize trucks because they offered less capability than a full-size, were considerably smaller, less expensive, and more fuel efficient. “I’ve been able to develop a strategy to come up with three of the four,” he says, but having achieving all four isn’t possible. He continued saying, “even with what’s out there on the market today, I haven’t seen anyone who can deliver on all four.”

Adding to Hegbloom’s thoughts, it’s thanks to tougher crash test standard, customer expectations of content, and capability, that the old-school midsize truck is a thing of the past.

What’s really the sticking point is fuel economy. In order for an automaker to achieve what today’s customers consider “incredible fuel economy,” it would raise the truck’s price. A diesel, for example, is more expensive to buy than a gas-powered truck, therefore eliminating the price advantage for going with a smaller truck. “If you do that,” Hegbloom says, “you also have the expense that goes along with it. Now you’ve got a price point consistent with a full-size truck."

Sadly Hegbloom’s reasoning makes sense. That means a Dakota-sized truck from Ram isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. That leaves General Motors’ Colorado and Canyon twins to soldier on with the Tacoma and Frontier.
Note: Dodge Dakota pictured here.
Continue reading to learn why Ram plans no midsize truck.

Why it matters

I’ve always been a big fan of the Dakota. Not only was it a great alternative to the larger Ram 1500, it gave customers a unique truck that wasn’t otherwise repeatable with the larger truck. Remember the Dakota R/T? It was a limited edition sport model that came powered by the same 5.9-liter V-8 as the Ram, giving it a respectable power to weight ratio. Between 1998 and 2003, the truck competed against the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Toyota Tacoma S-Runner.

The midsize truck market is unquestionably in an awkward stage. It’s like an old diesel engine trying to crank over on a fridge winter morning. No know knows if all the noise will amount to anything. GM and Toyota are the only players in the game with a pair of revised trucks under The General and a heavily revised Tacoma on the way.

Let’s just hope this sucker turns over and fires up.

Ram 1500

2013 - 2014 Ram 1500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 447857
2013 Ram 1500

Source: Automotive News

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