Will the New Fiat Strada Play a Role In Ram's Future?

Fiat Strada front II

Fiat is shaking things up in the global car (and car-based truck) markets, and that could tell us something about what’s going to happen here in the U.S. 

Fiat has a good deal of experience using car-based platforms to make a small, hard-working truck out of them. The 2012 Strada seen here is based off a smaller front-wheel-drive global car, called the Palio. The Strada has been quite popular in South America. In fact, it’s been so popular there that Fiat decided to sell the little runabout in Europe. 

Although relatively short at just over 14 feet long, the Strada will come in three cab configurations and corresponding bed lengths. Regular cab models will have 66-inch beds; extended cabs will have 52-inch beds; and crew-cab models will have a smallish 42-inch bed.  These numbers may sound tiny, but Fiat has modified the suspension to give the little sport truck between 1,300 and 1,600 pounds of payload capacity — certainly respectable. 

Fiat Strada int 1 II
The Strada will be sold in Europe with a Multijet 1.3-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that is reported to get about 45 mpg in combined (city and highway) fuel economy testing. Don’t expect this to be a speed demon: Preliminary engine output is said to be about 100 horsepower with close to 150 pounds-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. 

Apparently, the Strada is already a strong seller among younger buyers. It will come in three option packages: Working, Trekking and Adventure. All-wheel drive is available. 

Moving from the Strada, it looks like Fiat again is interested in creating something capable and interesting from a pre-existing platform. But judging from some early spy shots of the upcoming small Jeeps — reports have a new Compass, Patriot and Liberty based off the sporty Alfa Romeo Giuletta front-wheel-drive platform shown here — it looks like Fiat may be stretching a bit, trying to use a sporty car platform for something that should probably be a little more rugged.

Still, if all Jeep needs is a dirt-road rally-type performer, an all-wheel-drive Italian platform with much better ground clearance may be good enough for that entry-level segment. But if this strategy goes much bigger, we’re going to have some reservations. 

Rumors have been swirling about a “less traditional” Ram pickup truck getting ready to debut in the next few years as the Dodge Dakota replacement. Certainly, as Jeep continues to play with a the idea of a pickup truck in the 2014-15 time frame, it would make sense Ram would want something new and different as well, especially in a segment where it needs to exist. Certainly, the U.S. market is ready for something new in the midsize segment, and so could be the world market as well. 

Fiat Jeep Alfa platform II
It’s not a stretch to assume that in the same way Fiat “evolved” a car-based vehicle to make the Strada — and is now stretching and pulling an Alfa Romeo to make a few Jeeps (shown above)— that the company might take an existing (and quite successful) fully independent, air-suspended, larger platform like the one used in the Dodge Durango and try to stretch and pull that a little bit more to make a softer-riding, more family-friendly sport-utility truck for the U.S. 

Can the folks at Fiat do it? It sure seems like they’ve gotten the formula down. But will they be smart enough about this quiet (almost hibernating) segment and offer enough real capability and never-before-seen technologies and clever bed solutions? We haven’t seen that yet. 

Of course, nobody will argue that a company taking risks with new products like Chrysler is doing should absolutely be as efficient and intelligent about every cost decision it makes. We know they have to. Unfortunately, what we’re not as sure about is whether there are still people at Jeep and at Ram who are willing and able to fight on behalf of those of us who want capability and function first. 

If the new Dakota looks and runs like a Strada, that will tell most of us all we need to know.  Fiat Strada int 2 II

Fiat Strada Sporting II

Comments

I give Fiat about another 60-90 days in this country.

As it is, the local Fiat dealership is mostly used cars of other makes.

I don't think they'll ever bring anything like this to our shores and if they did, it sure as heck won't get 45 MPG. They'll put some 4 liter v6 in it, slap a $30k price tag on it and call it a jeep.

Not really my cup of tea, but it's something.

Man that is a lot of cladding on the one in the top photo. The one in the bottom photo would be fine to haul my dirtbike to the mountains.

we need a cheaper pickup..not quality but price.....maybe fiat have the answer..no gadget simple..

Might work as a Rampage...

what's the climbing rope on the front seat for?

and the galoshes in the back seat?

Going to a swamp lynching?

@ BobMc: No silly. It's for gator huntin'!

I think the thing has a good chance in coming if just to help with the new mileage regs. Plus the weight ratings are good.

Go for it Fiat! Best thing I've seen proposed yet! I would like to see the bed a little longer just because the more I can get done in one load the better. 1300lb pay load will get me at least one yard of mulch on a wet day and possibly two on a dry day If I could fit it all in there. I just think this is a great "truck" for some of us younger people. As a college student I use my truck to make money in the summer, but when I'm driving to class I need to make every penny count, and 45mpg would really do a lot towards that.

Subaru already tried this with Baja.

I'm all for more cheap pickup options. Chrysler has been doing very well lately with sales.

I think this is needed in the US market. I too am a 20's male and think we need a compact pickup truck. Problem is our overtly masculine male culture where bigger is better will keep Fiat from creating this segment. If your not toyota and Nissan then there's no real need to to compete in the midsize truck arena when You could buy an Ram for a Dakota for the same price range. I truely think a compact truck like this would be Fiat's Transit Connect. A 4 passenger version aimed at 20's, and a single cab for work/fleet use would be great. Priced at current Jeep Patriot Prices and you would move them.

The Italians and Fiat who own almost 60% of Ram will play a role in the destruction of Ram trucks. They could also buy out the UAW that owns the remaining 40% percent of the company, according to a report in Automotive News. It is only a matter of time.

That interior absolutely blows away the global Colorado.

This interior looks like 90's. Colorado interior is up to date beautiful design!

No tanks.

Could be interesting to see it pan out. In the top photo they would need to get rid of all that plastic though.

They would also need a hp increase so that darn thing could get out of its own way.

Just as long as there is valid room behind the seats on the extended cab, I am all for it.

This is a ridilious clown car. 100hP\p from a tiny 1.4 liter diesel? what is it with europeans with low output and tiny diesels?

Contrary to scott, bigger is always better. face it, whether gas is 4 dollars a gallon, or 16 dollars, unless you want to walk, you will pay whatever the price is. My 2001 f150 says it was made in norfolk, virginia. I have no concerns for gas mileage and i will never drive anything that tiny. Its all in the preferences, unfortunately, the market for this vehicle is tiny, and there will not be enough enough college students in their 20's to buy it.Stick to cars europeans, americans make the best trucks.

There should be nothing but v8's or bigger engines in trucks. Leave the sissy v6's and 4 cylinders to the douchebaqs.

@Allistar:

If gas was as expensive here as it is in Europe, you'd probably be more able to decipher the tiny low-output diesel matrix...

P.S.
You're coming off as a bit of an ignorant douchebag yourself.

@ Allistar

You obviously don't remember the what a big hit the Suzuki Samuri was with it's small size and tiny 4 cyl, engine....

Not everyone needs or wants a behemoth truck, nor wants to pay the price so they can appear as the urban cowboy they really are.
I love my truck, but don't need a full-size, and can't fit it in the garage either. I'd love something like this if it can also handle well and still haul a sheet of plywood when needed. I don't need the big truck to compensate for my short-comings!

I like the little ute. I just hope they don't come with four-lug wheels... 8=0 It's good to see the small utilities (prospectively) make a comeback.

I really think there is a spot in the market for something like this.. especially if will be seeing lighter full size trucks break 20mpg city with smaller turbo engines and carbon composites.

Here's how I think a little trucklet will break all expectations:

- 2 door agressive sports car looks. Imagining a Challenger with a small bed.
- comforatable seating for 5. A much bigger cab than this.
- Key is a a very versitile midgate and rear seats.. seats that fold flat to extend the bed, recline way back and flip back to face the rear would be revolutionary in trucklet
- Lots of hidden storage. A deep under bed trunk for tool storage. A square bed with rail storage.
- Able to haul 20 sheets of plywood, 40 bags of manuer or 2 dirt bikes with mid and tail gates down
- Able to tow 4000lb
- 200+hp, 4000+ towing, 35+ hw mpg.

All this said.. this is not a RWD BOF pickup truck and can't be compared to one. It's a niche CAR for you light weekend warrior.. more for tailgating and Home depot visits than hard car pickup truck guys.

Bring it.

I really don't care for it. It reminds me of the Subaru Brat which I never liked.

If it came here cheap and frugal enough, it might get my attention. The Doblo vanlet that is coming here is related and has as much as 2200lb payload. The underpinnings of this also have a lot in common with the Panda, so a tiny 4wd version would be possible.

I'd buy it as a Crew Cab with the Diesel. This would be perfect for 90+% of my needs. "fear the voices" & "cyberpine" are dead on with their assesment. Only thing I would request is a TRUE 4x4 system with (preferably) manual hubs and a transfer case. Usable as a commuter, picking up 4 kids, home improvement projects, and carry dirt bikes on the weekend. Most of my wheeling is done on two wheels anyways.

fear the voices,
funny thing is I've been looking at a used Samurai. Just can't use it to go to hardware store with a kid or two ... which has been holding me back

At first glance at this I thought it was ugly. But after looking at it a little more it has potential. The extended cab version looks horrible. But the regular cab could turn into being a nice little truck if it became a RAM. Throw a ram front end, different rear bumper, and add some general ram styling to it. It would sell, not saying it would be a top seller, but for someone looking for just a basic runaround pickup, it would do the job. Just my opinion

@Dave Probably right. Fiat cars, is pretty small globally and I think Marchionne wants to be a somewhat bigger player .
I think Jeep will be pushed more as the combined Fiat/Chryslers main "car" brand .
Fiat Industrial on the other hand has a much bigger footprint than the cars and is doing quite well on a global level.
http://www.iveco.com/Pages/welcome.html

http://www.caseih.com/Pages/Home.html

http://www.newholland.com/Pages/index.html

@Allistar - you need to do some research about European vehicles. Most of their engines have more power and better fuel economy than what is available in North America. Bigger is not necessarily better.

@ Dave - what makes you think Fiat will play a role in the destruction of Ram trucks?

@Max - really? Fiat is here to stay considering they have majority share of Chrysler. We might not see many Fiat badged vehicles because I bet most of them will end up in the Chrysler line up.

I can see the Strada in one form or an other showing up as the next Dakota. We've been hearing for well over a year that it will be a unibody trucklet.
Here it is.

@Lou as part of its merger with Chrysler a lot of Fiats will end up as the basis of many new Chryslers in North America. Globally , Fiat/Chrysler will be pushing Jeep with a lot of diesel options. RAM will be used for the current Pickups and any new Fiat Commercial Van/Truck that will be sold in North America.
You can get some mighty powerful and very fuel efficient engines from Europe especially in heavy trucks.

This truck has more potential then JOHNNY TROLL'S make believe 2011 Chevy 1500 W/T with 50,000 miles in 3 months.

rebadge it as dodge rampage with a 2 litter four banger and I buy it. I want a compact and not a mid sider.

I understand there are valid reasons for wanting a compact truck. It might be easier to park in the garage, it gets better fuel economy, the cost is less, etc. However look at your position, your in the minority. You scream for auto makers to listen to you, but they wont listen until you open up your wallet. its like a misbehaving kid in the supermarket, with the parents doing nothing, do you think the kid will stop?

The people wanting smaller trucks have honorable merits The profits remain with fullsize trucks. So keep dreaming about a compact truck with a 1.4 liter little puny turbo diesel engine. It will never happen. Why sell something with low demand?

So quit whining when trucks get bigger and bigger and you want the smallest truck possible. You have other options like a cuv,suv or a car. Stop bytching when automakers dont listen to you. i f you dont spend the money, you have no impact. You have a say when you buy your target, you gain nothing by complaining.

People arent compensating with big full size trucks. On the contrary, think about the people driving tiny compact trucks. Who's really compensating? or should i say, compressing? retards!

True other companies have tried such UTEs in the past and failed in the US. To me the way to succeed is to make it much more versatile with an easy fold down midgate, deep under bed storage, a small, hard square bed with deep under storage and aggressive sports car styling.

@ Allistar

Try and see it from this perspective- When the cost of a small truck has climbed to almost match that of the newer full-sized truck, and the mileage ratings are much the same, but the full-sized one also has a big rebate; which would you likely choose?

Let's not forget that while the Ranger was the oldest truck on the road, it was selling at number 2; not bad! How would those numbers have been different if Ford had actually updated the truck once since it's '98 update? How much better could those numbers have been if the truck sold for a more realistic price reflective of it's age and capability?

I suspect if these vehicles were closer to how they were originally introduced in the 80's, lower price, better mileage, they'd still be quite popular.

Right now I'm really interested in seeing what Fiat will do. Using Fiat platforms to create new Jeeps will definitely cause a stir among the Jeep purists. I may be wrong, but as with the Compass, the only people who will buy the new Jeeps, especially if they are built outside the US/Canada, will be those who think it's cool to have a Jeep because of the name. The brand should say a lot of what a vehicle is all about, and this is what made Jeep a respected name, in my opinion.

Max also suggested that if Fiat did bring the Strada pickup over to the States, it would likely be branded as a Jeep. Don't count on it, my friend. Dodge/Ram will have something to say about that. Ever since Chrysler bought Jeep in 1987, Dodge has squashed every Jeep pickup that was in production and stopped every Jeep pickup concept from reaching production. And no matter who controlled Chrysler (Daimler, Cerberus, and now Fiat), Dodge let everyone know who calls the shots when it comes to pickups. See how easily Marchionne folded when he announced the possibility of a Jeep pickup and Dodge management voiced its opinion? And what did we get? A lame DIY Independence kit.

@Alister: How can people talk with their wallets when what they want just isn't available? You can't buy what you can't get.

I'm not, repeat NOT buying a full-sized truck. I might buy a Wrangler-based pickup (and no, I don't mean one of the conversion kitted ones.) But if there doesn't come another really compact pick-up, then I guess I'll be buying one of those little econoboxes.

I was ready to buy a Baja, but they stopped producing them just as I was hitting the market. I bought a Wrangler Unlimited instead.

@iMmoore: Who said Marccione folded? He's as strongly for a Wrangler-based truck as he always was and he definitely has the power to tell the RAM CEO to take a hike. The Wrangler conversion kit is more an interim project to test the waters for a Wrangler-based truck.

The Compass and Patriot, to me, were failures because Daimler tried to milk the SUV market for all it was worth--the Grand Cherokee and Liberty were the only ones Jeep really needed but Daimler wanted to use the Jeep brand to sell crossovers. Conversely, based on what I see of the new Compass idea, it could well serve as a dirt-road sporter with some off-road capability considering it's higher ground clearance by comparison. I don't think I'd take it on a black or red trail--maybe not even a blue--but green trails would probably be pretty easy for it.

The Strada? Well, it meets my idea of a compact truck, though I'm not the greatest fan of 100hp when most cars in America push 150hp or higher--but we do have some quite popular cars in the sub-150hp range, too. I think you'd see far more of these on the road than you think if Fiat does decide to bring it in.

The Strada was a cheap build and poor quality pickup, that never succeeded here in Europe... In my entire life I've seen ONLY one on the street and I think it's too weak and small for US, never worth to call it a RAM!

Stop equating big trucks with big muscles or brains. There is a market for small fuel sipping trucks and it's not only for people in their 20s. I own a big truck and most of the year there's nothing in the bed. Buying a Canyon (I had one of those too) doesn't make sense either it's bad on gas. Many pickup owners are like big SUV owners in Florida....they want to look tough but never put them in 4WD. Many people who only want to own one vehicle would like something practical and economical to drive. Occasionally haul small stuff, tow a small boat or garden tractor and not give a dang about doing 0 to 60 in 6s flat is what many people want or need to do! How about giving those buyers an option they don't have right now!

Remember Iveco?.............crap!

@Dave
"Remember Iveco?.............crap!"
Times change.
Hyundai used to be garbage, now look at them. VW was considered a maker of eccentric European cars, now probably the largest Auto manufacturer on the planet and making three times the profit of Ford and GM.
IVECO is making strides. It now outsells, Freightliner, possible MACK ,International and CAT trucks in Australia.

Sergio is a genius, but he did just stop making the best mid size ever. My 04 Dakota reg cab swb 4x4 V8 5sp is just what the Dr ordered for good mpg (21) and hauling when needed.
Chryco, jeep & dodge are doing well and will continue to kick butt in all sales catagories because the new full line of vans (soon) trucks and cars are fun, look good, are reliable as any other, and are fun to drive.
Sergio is the catalyst and it shows. He gets standing ovations when speaking a employees, a low key guy that knows the vehicle markets in and out. Watch for Jeeps all over the world now, its about time, and the new Mighty FC is a great legend builder like the pinzgnaurer (?) and unimogs.
Go Man Go...........

The winning formula looks like this

-midsized length
-fullsize width
-seating for 5 for with folddown rear seats and midgate
-Able to haul 4x8 sheets of plywood flat in bed with mid and tailgates down
-2 door with 3rd door with no door handle
- low, wide, aerodynic with muscle truck styling
- FWD light unibody
- mere 3000lb towing
- 200hp twin turbo aluminum 2.0L engine
- 30mpg City EPA rating thanks to brake recovery and stop/start


I now have a ford f-150 and I love it, but the gas mileage is terrible. This kind of truck makes sense, I will buy one if they keep the price right and it will hold together.

I have a small farm and this little truck would be perfect, not everybody wants/needs a huge, bad ass truck. The USA doesn't have any choices available for me. I have been looking at GEO trackers, but Geo was bought out by Chevy. Chevy then decided to discontinue making the mini truck. It was the closest thing to what I need. Right now, I have been lifting feed sacks out of the trunk of my car. That is not very convenient! It is time for a SMALL pick up for small jobs. If you a powerful truck,.... BUY A BIG truck.

I would love to be the first Fiat Strada pick up owner and driving advertisement for the USA!!

I think it's time already. Deliver a Fiat Strada Ram to the US and it will sell. But if Ram is going to redesign it I would ask for a few things... Bigger cab/Smaller bed, Bench front seat, Big rear window and at least 3000lb towing. Really like the integrated bed/room rack and step bumpers on some fo the Strada models I've seen.

Give it a bench fron seat and drop the rear seats, but leave the cab this size. Raise the bed floor over the wheel wells so you can slide a 4x8 sheet. build in a under bed floor trunk ala Ridgeline. Push the wheels out to the corners and make sure you can run a 295/50/18 wheel in it... Make a cheap viynl model with a 1.4 tigershark turbo that does 35mpg avg and sell it for $14k in the US and you won't be able to make enough of them.

Please bring it on. At 5'2" I need a smaller truck. Something to hall mulch, garage sale finds, music equip that gets better than 15 mph, low profile that I don't need a damned ladder to get in, maybe could wear a dress and drive.

I drove one of those pickups, goes quite fast with the I4 1.8 petrol. I think it would be a good niche product, even better with Fiat 1.4 TD. The extented 2 seater makes most sense. It offers a lot of space, and the bed isn't too small. The payload is solid, with 16" dual use tires, good ground clearance and differential lock on the FWD should have more then decent off-road capability.

RAM should add this small pickup to their offer. The Dakota just wasn't so different from the 1500.

The times change, the top market for the Mini brand is the US, something unthinkable few years ago.



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