Since the demise of the Dodge Dakota in 2011, Dodge Truck (err Ram) enthusiasts have been begging the Auburn Hills-based automaker to bring back a mid-sized pickup offering. Instead, Ram has continued to put focus on offering its Gen4 Ram 1500 Classic full-size truck, while other Detroit automakers have brought back its popular smaller options and continued to refine them for a number of years.
The story has been different for the Ram brand in other parts of the world. Needing smaller trucks to expand its global portfolio, Ram has looked to other manufacturers for help.
For a handful of years in the 2010s, Ram offer a midsized pickup called the Ram 1200 to the Middle Eastern market. The Ram 1200 was nothing more than a rebadged Mitsubishi Triton (L200) pickup, which was offered in either a Single Cab or Crew Cab configuration. It featured two engine options: a 2.5-liter diesel with a power output of 126 horsepower or 134 horsepower (depending on configuration) or a 2.4-liter gasoline engine that produced 130 horsepower. The truck was never a hot seller, so when Mitsubishi decided to merge with automakers Renault and Nissan, the partnership was dissolved.
The story has been much different for Ram in the Latin America (LATAM) market. There Ram has continued to grow at an impressive rate. While the LATAM region is made up of poorer countries than markets like Europe or the Middle East, Ram has reached out to the FIAT brand for help.
FIAT which dominates the region in sales, especially in the pickup market, continues to provide its pickup offerings for the American brand in counties where it does not sell them. Thanks to the success of the subcompact Fiat Strada (Ram 700) and compact Fiat Toro (Ram 1000), Ram has continued to be a key player in the LATAM market. But there have been some roadblocks.
For example, in Brazil, FIAT dominated over 50% of the sales of pickup offerings. Ram on the other continues to break records as a “premium” brand by offering its full-size pickups, but can’t compete against its FIAT sibling due to their presence. But that is about to change with the introduction of the all-new Ram 1200 scheduled to start production later this year.
Codenamed “Project 291”, the Ram 1200 will be a unibody-based mid-sized pickup specifically built for Ram to compete in LATAM. Based on the Fiat Chrysler Small-Wide 4×4 LWB architecture that underpins the Jeep® Compass, Jeep Commander, and Fiat Toro, the Ram 1200 will not be a badged-engineered pickup. Instead, it will be slightly larger than the Fiat Toro and will share many underpinnings with the successful Jeep Commander D-SUV, which it will be built alongside of.
Our good friends at Autos Segredos (Auto Secrets), recently sent us these shots of one of the new Project 291 mules on the streets of Brazil. The Brazilian publication states that the new Ram midsized pickup will NOT be coming to the North American market, but will instead be a key part of the future of the Ram brand in LATAM.
While its styling will resemble the North American-built Ram 1500, the rest of it will not. Under the hood, AutosSegredos says Ram will be offering two powertrains. The first will be a 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine that will be able to run on either gasoline or ethanol. A 2.2-liter turbodiesel inline-four-cylinder will be the other likely choice.
The truck is expected to only be offered in a Crew Cab four-door configuration but should feature a much more usable (longer) bed than the Fiat Toro / Ram 1000 once it comes to market. And because it will be based on the Commander, you can expect that same four-wheel drive (4×4) capability.
Inside, we should expect things like a customizable digital cluster, Uconnect 5 HD touchscreen media center with built-in navigation, wireless smartphone charging, and all the comforts you see in the larger Ram offerings.
We expect to learn a lot more about the new unibody-based pickup as we get closer to summer. The all-new Ram 1200 is expected to start production at the Stellantis Goiana Assembly Plant in Brazil in Q3 2023.
To see more pictures of this latest Ram pickup, you can visit AutosSegredos.com