Ram would like to offer a midsize pickup with “incredible” fuel economy, but says it’s a costly puzzle

Updated Apr 11, 2015
2011 Dodge Dakota2011 Dodge Dakota

GM has revived the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Ford has brought back the Ranger to the world market.

But, as much as it would like to, Ram Truck doesn’t see a future for a Dodge Dakota replacement, the company’s midsize pickup that stopped production in 2011.

According to an interview Automotive News did with Ram Truck leader Robert Hegbloom during the 2015 New York International Auto Show, the reason is simple: the numbers just don’t add up.

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Hegbloom told Automotive News in the 1980s “heyday” of midsize pickup buyers wanted four things: a smaller and less capable truck than a full-size pickup that was cheaper and offered, “incredible fuel economy.” Today’s midsize pickup buyers’ objectives are the same, he said, and Ram isn’t interested in offering a midsize truck that doesn’t deliver on all four points.

“I’ve been able to develop a strategy to come up with three of the four [key midsize selling points] and even with what’s out there on the market today, I haven’t seen anyone who can deliver on all four,” Hegblom said.

Turns out, it’s the “incredible” fuel economy that throws a wrench into the whole thing as Hegbloom believes that definition means at least 35 miles per gallon highway.

“If full-size now is pushing 30 [mpg], you’re going to expect a midsize to be at least at 35,” he told AN. “You’re also going to expect it to be significantly less expensive. But to bring the technology in to deliver on 35 mpg, then you’re going to raise the price.”

With the Ram EcoDiesel now getting 29 mpg highway, Hegbloom said that engine could possibly deliver 35 mpg in a smaller truck but said the diesel engine would move the truck’s price point closer to a full-size truck, throwing the whole thing out of whack.