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.”
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.