FCA Boss Wants Midsize Pickup for Ram

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The Ram brand needs to expand and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering a return to the midsize pickup market, CEO Sergio Marchionne said in Geneva today.

“We’re looking into it,” Marchionne told reporters at the 2016 Geneva auto show. “I have a keen interest in getting it done. The big question is whether it should be body on frame.”

FCA has explored the idea of a unibody, lifestyle compact pickup and while the idea was in the works for some time, it was never greenlighted because the automaker was having trouble developing a truck that would get the fuel efficiency required and that could be sold at an affordable price while still generating a profit.

The business case is still tough — Marchionne said when he looks at the Chevrolet Colorado he assumes the profit margins are lower than General Motors’ full-size pickups because the costs are likely similar but the smaller trucks sell for less.

Even so, “I think it’s a good place to be. Ram needs to expand its lineup.”

Ford is expected to reintroduce the Ranger midsize pickup to the U.S. market in 2018, and build the smaller body-on-frame truck at its Michigan Assembly Plant.

Ford discontinued the Ranger for North America in 2011 but the truck is a strong seller in the rest of the world. In the U.S., the automaker wanted to steer all sales to the larger F-150. The Dodge Dakota, Chrysler’s last midsize pickup, was discontinued after the 2011 model year.

The small pickup segment has seen a resurgence with the new GM entries and Toyota’s new Tacoma.