As the full-size pickup market continues to grow in size and price, automakers in the United States are offering more choices than ever before in the mid-size pickup segment. Manufacturers like Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Nissan, Honda, and Toyota, are about to be joined by new all-electric options like the Rivian R1T and Alpha Wolf. But where is the RAM brand?
It wasn’t long ago, that the RAM brand (then Dodge Truck brand) played an important role in the segment by offering the first true mid-size pickup offering with the 1987 Dodge Dakota. The Dakota went on to become the first mid-size pickup to offer a V8 engine with the Shelby Dakota, the first mid-sized pickup to have a convertible option (that’s right Jeep®Gladiator fans), and the first mid-size pickup to offer a true four-door Crew Cab model. Dodge/Ram sold over 2.3 million units under the Dakota nameplate in the United States alone. So as the mid-size pickup segment continues a resurgence why not bring the Dakota nameplate back to the market?
Currently, the RAM brand offers its fourth-generation Ram 1500 under the Classic name, the full-sized Ram half-ton is priced similar to many mid-sized pickup offerings on the market. The aging Ram 1500 Classic models have all of their development and tooling costs well-paid off and with continued strong sales, the offering has become a “cash cow” for the brand. It has also allowed for RAM to continue to put the Classic sales under the Ram 1500 banner in its everlasting battle with Chevrolet for the second-place spot in the full-size truck segment.
Recently, we found out that RAM will indeed build a compact pickup exclusively to the brand for the Latin American market. This new unibody-based pickup will not be sold in markets north of the Rio Grande. Leaving Americans and Canadians, waiting for another option to be able to purchase.
Our friend, digital designer wb.artist20, has created his own design for a modern-day Dakota offering. Using the 2020 Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab “Built To Serve” Edition as its base and using inspiration from the first-generation Dodge Dakota that ran from 1987 to 1990. The squared-off look of the original is present in this modern take.
Forget the need for a Crew Cab, wb.artist20 designed a Regular Cab with a long-box. The design includes a two-tone exterior paint scheme, which helps the Ram 1500 influenced body lines more prominent. There is even a hint of the famed “crosshair” grille with a modern take. We like the design and think it’s good to see a design not based on the beloved second-generation Dakota for a change.
It leads to the question, would you buy a modern-day mid-sized Dakota over a full-size Ram 1500? If so, what options would you want in a modern mid-size offering? If not, tell us why in the comments below or on the MoparInsiders.com forums. We would love to hear your thoughts on the idea of bringing a new Ram-based mid-sized pickup to the North American market!