The Next Dodge Dakota: More Intel From Chrysler CEO

Dakota Rampage
By Patrick Olsen
 
In a group interview this afternoon at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said the next-generation Dodge Dakota (really its replacement) has a “better than 50 percent chance of being a unibody truck.” 

As many will recall, the last Dakota came off the Warren, Mich., assembly line in August. Ford, likewise, stopped production of its Ranger just last month.

Reports have been circulating about Dodge re-entering the small-truck segment with a more modern, Honda Ridgeline-like replacement (a la the Rampage concept, shown several years ago), while Jeep could return to the segment with a more rugged, frame-based truck. 
 
In addition to his chassis comments, Marchionne said there is a good chance there will be a diesel-engine variant available as well. “Right now we’re struggling with getting the capabilities of the vehicle right,” he said. When asked to elaborate, Marchionne noted that pickup owners have very specific demands for payload and towing, and the unibody approach can make getting the recipe just right somewhat difficult.
 
Asked when shoppers might see the next Dakota, Marchionne just raised his eyebrows.

Comments

If the ridgeline doesn't sell, why would you copy it?

Dodge Durango chop-top, extend the wheelbase a bit, and make it a cab-pass-through similar to the Avalanche. It will tow the Honda Ridgeline the same manner the Durango towed the Ford Explorer behind the motorbike, jetski, boat, etc. Yeah!

The Honda Ridgeline is adequately powered, overpriced, and ugly to boot.

If the Ridgeline has 20-30 more HP, had a 6 speed, was not so ugly, and cost $2-3k less, THEN it might be more readily accepted.

Probably gonna be based off the Durango. I just wish we could get the El Camino and Falcon Ute.

Im confused does this new Dakota fall under Ram or Dodge?

@5.3 LOL,

I am thinking RAM Dakota.

If it looks anything like that... it has a better than 50 percent chance of me never buying one!

The Durango platform is too expensive and heavy to build an entry level trucklet. Cutting off the roof won't make it any cheaper and it weighs as much as a Ram 1500- 5300# with AWD and a Hemi. I think more along the lines of some Fiat commercial van bits, like the Ducato or Scudo. Their parts are tough and cheap. Or it could just share the Caravan chassis. Like Mackintire said, the Ridgeline isn't completely wrong- just update it a little and cut the price. The Honda brand does not appeal to truck buyers, so its hard to lure truck customers away from domestics. RAM does not have that problem.

I'm speechless.

I've awestruck that they designed a vehicle to have even less utility than a Smart fortwo.

At least an El Camino would handle like a car and get better mpg. And an El Camino would have a longer bed.

Time for a different focus group there christler.

"Reports have been circulating about Dodge re-entering the small-truck segment with a more modern, Honda Ridgeline-like replacement"

Welp, forget about me buying one of those.

I can't afford a $30,000 15 mpg "midsize" truck.

Now, once you're considering the South American Fiat Strada as a potential replacement, call me back.

Mr. Marchionne:
Let me save you some heavy thinking - never, ever make it "Honda Ridgeline like" and there is a simple reason truck owners have "very specific demands for payload and towing" - that's because they actually use pickups for those things. Don't bother bringing a pickup that doesn't work for truck owners.

The Jeep Comanche was unibody-based truck and it was fairly well received. You could even get it with a diesel when it first came out. It will be interesting to compare the new platform to the old one.

I agree on the Comanchee/Cherokee, it had plenty of power and pulled my bass boat just fine. They just need to look at it and update it and keep the front solid axle or go with what Toyota has under thier Tacoma, light weight and reliable. I have to have a truck with a camper shell, that thing they pictured I do not think you could put a shell on it

Gay, Girly, Ram... .

I'm okay with the uni body just keep it RWD, the Durago is unit body and can still tow a respectable 6-7K.

It's just a thought but i think it would be great if Dodge made a power wagon model for this truck. The look this truck has would be perfect for it.

Anybody else remember the Toyota A-BAT? This is the Dodge DING-BAT

I will give them credit. It looks a lot better than that dungheap Bum Ranger that Ford is selling overseas. Another MAJOR LOSS for Ford.

I foresee a chopped Journey/Caravan hybrid. FWD standard, optional AWD. 5 passenger crew cab w/ a 4' x" bed. 12-1300 lb payload, 4000 lb max towing.

" Marchionne said there is a good chance there will be a diesel-engine variant available as well. “Right now we’re struggling with getting the capabilities of the vehicle right,”

No wonder. Putting a diesel into a unibody defeats the purpose of having a capable midsize pickup. Chrysler stick with BOF.

Most guys buy pickups because of what it "can" do as opposed to what they need it for. Guys like the thought of being able to haul a ton ot tow 5 tons if they want to. That is the problem with trucks like the ABat, this unibody concept, or the Ridgeline. Guys look at it and it won't do what they think a truck should do.
I looked at a Ridgeline. What killed it for me was the fact that its odd shape made accessories very expensive. A conopy was outrageously priced. Boat racks would have to be special ordered or custom made. The sloped box sides are the biggest problem. The only other beef I had with it was the huge C - pillar.

30+ mpg as a daily driver, Diesel option, #5,000+ to tow a small camper or boat, 4 dr and 4X4 or AWD to pull the boat up the ramp.
Dodge/ Ram are you listening?

Yep, I bet they have some modern ideas. I like the smaller truck option especially with a few high fuel engine (diesel)/drivetrain options.

I think that this is ugly what happened to the pick up look?
Including all the other pickup brands they're making trucks
Look like SUVs. Plain stupid and ugly for real! What's going on Truck Makers??

The "dungheap Bum Ranger that Ford is selling overseas".... is actually at the top of its class and is selling like hot cakes.

You may not like it, but its on track to sell 250k+ units this year.

@mackintire
"You may not like it, but its on track to sell 250k+ units this year."

News to me. Ford has no current Global Rangers in the showrooms. here in Australia and we are a major market. The Thai Floods hit a lot of manufacturers. I have seen ONE new Ranger and it's ugly sibling the Mazda.

@mackintire On the other hand Ford Australia's best selling vehicle is the Disel 2.7 litre 4,500lb CUV Ford Territory.
http://www.themotorreport.com.au/content/image/2/0/2011_ford_territory_ts_awd_diesel_03-4d9d2903c8f62-450x240.jpg

Marchionne, are you listening?! Build this Dodge/RAM "Dakota" off the Dodge Durango/Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, 3.6L V6, 6- or 8-speed tranny, RWD/4WD/AWD, 2-door and 4-door.

Have you seen the commercial of the Durango pulling the Ford Explorer???? That could be the "Dakota" with the Ridgeline!

Making a unibody truck do what customers want as far as towing a hauling is tough to do.. but we're going to make it unibody anyhow.

Yeah.. that's brilliant thinking right there. This product is going to sink like a bowling ball in a river as soon as it's released.

Build a mini version of the Ram and price it LOWER than the Ram.. that's all you have to do to sell them. But.. they don't see the OBVIOUS!

Dav is the man

WOW thats a total bite off the tundra and A-BAT concept!

A-Bat: http://toyota.focusgear.com/files/2009/09/b978d02f33566f6e88f562ca2d6913b5.jpg

Tundra "FTX" concept: http://www.pickuptrucks.com/trucks/IMAGES/autoshows/naias2004/toyota/ftx1.jpg

i dont think they could bite off that any harder

@hemi lol that tundra concept reminds me just slightly of the old hummer HX concept, with the tires so far to the corners and low roof lines.

Yes the Jeep Comanche sold well, it was a damn COMPACT vehicle. If these morons at Doge do build it, I hope it sells no better than the ridgeline. The truck customers have spoken with their wallets, NO UNIBODY trucks.

For some reason, I see the same garbage flaw of GM. Design by committee and focus groups with women, goverment quality accountants, and non-truck owners/users.

These people are MORONS, if they want to take the stupid risk of building a unibody to save weight, then just go tho their FIAT catalog, convert their 4cly diesel to US emissions, and build the damn thing.

Just how STUPID are these IDIOTS in charge!!!!

Hey the ridgeline didn't have a hood scoop, this thing does. It will totally sell........

What Billy said: Base it off the Durango. Make it have coils I think. Hope they stay away from the 180 degree suicide doors, and make a crew version with a bed over 6 feet available.

Bout time, get the ball rolling on some decent midsize trucks instead of forcing everyone to choose Frontier, Tacoma, or a fat full size truck.

this is the future. unibody trucks that get up to 30 miles to the gallon. dont worry they just have to get corporate fuel economy up. like dodge did with the pt cruiser by calling it a pickup. 25 mpg in a pt allowed them to make 11 mpg 5.9 gassers for a couple more years till the hemi came out. and if some of you think you are going to have a 30 mile to the gallon 6500 lb. truck your crazy. so build these trucks for people who carry bags of trash and a lawnmower so people can still drive real trucks

I don't see the Dakota name making it too the next generation since it would be sold under the Ram name. Ram Dakota just doesn't fit. They'll probably bring back the the name Ram 50.

After leaving the Army in 1981, one of the worst times in the economic history of the U.S. I sold transportation.. owned a small Ford franchise, sold fleet to State, Federal, and political entities... Ten years of Ford, Ten years of Dodge, and 3 years of Sterling trucks... so you could say, anywhere from a Escort, Dodge Omni (which was a french Simca) to a Sterling LT 9500... When Chrysler first came out with the Dakota, it was awsome... a whole bunch of room with an 8ft bed... then came the 6cyl, then a 318 shelby, what a screamer... I presently own an 07 Crew Cab Dakota... full of guts with the v8 and it still gets 23mpg if I keep my foot out of the acellerator... two huge downfalls with the truck... no bed space to speak of, it would have been nice to have a 7 or 8' bed with this beast... the second thing, you wonder why sales fell off the face of the earth... hello, the price was tooo dam high...

Now, if all of the marketing freaks would learn to listen to someone that was in the trenches and actually dealt with customers for 20 years, you would learn something... first of all, all of the surveys, and marketing techniques will not tell you squat... but if you continue on the coarse that you are presently taking, and introduce the next Dakota which clearly resembles the Honda Ridgeline, your Dakota will meet a death sooner than you think... People want at least 6 or 7' of bed space to haul something... they want to be able to haul at the least 800 to 1000 lbs of weight in their rear end... if this means putting a compressor and air suspension on the backside, do it... You need to be able to pull at least 5 to 6000 pounds... 2 to 4000 lbs will not cut it...
The last model couldn't corner worth a hoot... widen the wheel base folks or put some bigger and stronger sway bars on it... the current model can be dangerous in the curves...

Lastly, put a diesel in the new truck that can hit a cruise speed at 80mpg and can hit 35mpg for the turnpikes...

Something else about history, if you recall, Ford built an
E-100 pickup back in the early 60's and an F-100 unibody PU... both were failures... especially the unibody F-100... too much body twist... wise up and listen...

In short, your new "Ridgeline" look a like Dakota will die an early death from cardiac arrest from lack of sales... no one wants a Honda like truck... get something that "works"

One other thing... Fiat better be 10 times better than it was in the 70's and 80's.... Fiats, lancias, were a crap heap... they would rust out within months of ownership... and their power trains were maintenance nightmares... My experience was a 78 Lancia Beta coupe... what a POS... the car was falling apart within the warranty period, and getting fiat to pay warranty claims and fix them was impossible.... pray that fiat is more responsive to their dealer and customer needs....

a dakota with a diseal motor that could pull a bass boat is the dream truck for me and my friends
and would get 25 mpg if done right

Why would you release something that looks like the Honda Ridgeline. You took a great looking truck and designed it into a bug looking truck. Get with the program.

Now that is a real compact truck my friends. Prediction: this will become the best selling compact truck after it's release.

GUTS
GLORY
#1 DAKOTA

that thing is ugly. looks like a ridgeline and a toyota put together lol. doesnt even loook american.

Guys Relax... this picture is not of the next Dakota. its the 2006 Rampage (concept) Very functional and has many good innovations placed in to it. They already messed up the Dakota line with the (2005 - current body style) I believe they will lean more in the direction of the Challenger than the Ridgeline.

I think this truck will be very neat, it may not be that great on gas like the big dogs, but its a midsize truck. this will be something diffrent for people to experience, i saw that it will have sliding rear doors. I personally think thats cool. Hopefully it will have more power than my currenet dakota, 1992 Dakota LE. But in a few years this may be a hot commodity. This is chryslers way of saying, "Lets take this to the next level into the future", who knows, all yall dakota haters may like it :).

I have a 2007 would never trade in on this (thing) it's not a truck. Send that designer to the nut house.

They need to bring back the generation 2 body style and put a HEMI in it.

Why not go back to the. Body style of the 02 thru 04 they where the best looking dakotas

I think that it is good that Dodge has taken steps to compete with the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Sad that Ford isn't doing the same. If I'd buy a truck on looks alone I would get one. Come on, the design looks a lot better than the Ridgeline! But this truck has to keep up with the gas economy factor, before I would seriously consider investing in one. I am one that only has "light hauling needs" and so this vehicle would seem to fit my wants and needs. Oh, a another critical factor is that this truck needs to be durable, with low maintenance capabilities. If I understand this correctly, that is why Toyota trucks (as well as their other vehicles) sell. And listen, make this truck affordable! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to comment. Aloha. We in Hawaii love trucks too!



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