Update 1: Dakota Body-On-Frame Pickup Production Ends After 2011

Dakota Body-On-Frame Pickup Production Ends After 2011

Update #1 November-4-2009 01:59 EDT:
Fred Diaz, president and CEO of the new Ram brand, says Dakota pickup production will end by 2011.

"It's the natural end of the Dakota's lifecycle," Diaz said. "It competes in a shrinking segment. We need to figure out if we can build a smaller, more efficient vehicle that people can use for play and light-duty work. It also has to be more affordable than the current Dakota."

Diaz said many Dakota buyers find themselves in the dilemma of buying either a Dakota or a Ram 1500 half-ton because both trucks cross into the other's price range but the half-ton Ram is more capable.

What might replace Dakota? It would likely be a unibody truck that could ride on a Fiat platform.

"The merger with Fiat has put us in the perfect position to evaluate Fiat's offerings," said Diaz. "We could [replace the Dakota] with something in-house but we're also examining what Fiat has - every model, including Iveco. We're going to pick the one that makes the most sense to us."

The mention of a unibody pickup and the newly-separated-from-Dodge Ram brand seem to conflict. The Ram brand is going to emphasize tough trucks aimed at tough truckers. The concept of a unibody pickup, like the Honda Ridgeline, has not been well received by this group because of such vehicles' relatively weak work capabilities.

"The Dakota replacement can't be a light paperweight replacement that can't do anything," said Diaz. "It has to be fairly capable of doing some work. But it also has to have really good MPG."

Dakota production might still continue after 2011 for markets outside the U.S., like South America.

"I'm going to be honest," said Diaz. "That's not off the table. We just don't know yet."

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We've just taken a quick run through Chrysler's 2010-14 business plan and one item we noticed is that the Dakota body-on-frame pickup is scheduled to end after 2011. An unnamed midsize unibody pickup is under consideration to take its place.

The Dodge Dakota first went on sale in 1987, creating the midsize truck segment as an alternative to compact and full-size pickups. The current Dakota is the third-generation of the pickup.

The Dakota's sales performance has rapidly declined during the past few years. Last month, only 515 units were sold and year-to-date sales are down by 58%.

Comments

What a shame. The best locally-made midsize. Yes it needs a refresh, but unibody? Forget it. Looks like Fiat isn't doing the Dodge brand any favors whatsoever. That's what you get when a company takes over an American iconic brand, that has never sold any cars in America - with the exception of Ferrari?

Bummer!! That is what I was afraid of. They're going to kill the Dakota and *might* replace it with something lesser. I love my 2001 Dakota, and was planning on buying a new one next year. If the whole Dodge re-direction wasn't enough to make me stop and think, this certainly does!

Another reason to keep buying Toyota pickups and Tacoma's!

Word is the next generation 4-Runner will still be body on frame which is a solid indication of the next Tacoma that follows suit shortly thereafter!

A unibody Dakota? a Ridgeline clone?? a VW Amorok clone??
doesn't sound like a good move to me!

When you price a midsize truck higher than their own fullsize truck,you are going to lose sales.Fleets (delivery businesses....etc) dont buy Dakotas.They buy Rangers or Tacomas,why? Price! Even GM killed their golden goose fleet truck (S10) when they went to the higher priced Colorado.
Dont they get it? Jack up pricing higher than the competition and they will leave you!

I always liked the Dakota for its smaller size but big truck capability. Dodge needs to keep it truck based, just increase the efficiancy, maybe a direct injection V6.

The shelflife of the dakota has reached its expiration date. I cant remember the last time I seen a current model around town. Its time put this old horse down and bring in the new. I should note that I am a previous owner of a dakota and so I have experience with the product.

I'm getting a tacoma...

I absolutely LOVED my 2000 Dakota, best truck I've ever had really (for what I need). Owned the Durango too when they were both based on the same platform. Thing is, the new Dakota bodystyle looks TERRIBLE, and there still isn't a HEMI.

Here's how I see it: if any of this was about the money, then the 4.7L would be dead, and all the V6's would be dead too, we would only have HEMI until they can create better V6's. Really, go look at the fuel ratings, the 4.7L is exactly the same as the HEMI in most trucks, the V6's are like 1 mpg better than the HEMI, so why make either of those inferior engines? They've said for years the HEMI is cheaper to make than the 4.7L anyway, and the HEMI is about the same physical dimensions as the 4.7L, so no fitment problems. Wouldn't that be a savings of who knows how many millions to put toward working an V6's that actually DO get better gas mileage!?

My 87 Jeep Commanche was a unibody truck and one of the best vehicles I ever owned. It handled loads far beyond the stated capacity and more easily than my friends' toyota and Chev S10.
A properly engineered unibody designed as a truck and not a platofrm share with a passenger vehicle could do well.

They killed the Dakota with the last redesign. I had a 2003, and it was rock solid, and looked good too. From 2005 onward, the Dakota has been a shadow of its former self.

The Jeep Comanche was a unibody?! Well you learn something new everyday! It looks so much like a truck...When I think of unibody I think of something with the characteristics of a passenger car, like the Honda Ridgeline. Then they should make the next Dakota something like the Comanche (but with regular, extended and crew cabs of course).

I currently own a customized 02 Dakota with over 100 K on the odometer. It has been very reliable and I feel its rounder lines look better than the squarer current model. I was disappointed to find out an SLT was not available in Canada after 08. I was planning to buy one but they became unavailable, unless you plan to pay thousands in accessory prices on top of an SXT model. Something less truck like would I'm sure turn more people away from the Dakota. Maybe Dodge needs to look at what people bought in the past. What I still see on the streets is usually 00 to 04 R/T models and Stampede model trucks. If it is clear the current pricing, styling and basic truck look isn't working than try something that has. Let me know when a rounder, sleeker SRT with a Hemi engine and a nice spoiler kit comes out.

I have had many dakotas and loved every one. My first one at age 16. Saved up for 2 years to get it . I've owned a 1987 se ,1990 le 1991 le 4x4, 1993 slt x-cab v6, 1994 slt x-cab v8,and a 2002 slt x-cab v6. I still own 4 of them and they all out preform my wife's 2005 1500 ram hemi. funnny thing is dodge is wanting to change a good truck and co-produce a vichile that looks like a attachment for cleaning sewer tubes. That is a shame! IT is time for me to choose a new ride and I was looking at another dakota . If dodge changes the dakota , my wife and I may stop buying any more dodge vichiles at all. you want to sell more dakotas? customize the body , hemi motor , lots of spoilers and scoops. build a hotrod sport truck people can be proud to drive and own, don't kill the dakota . save it! customize it! price it a $1,000 less than the other car companys!

My 07 Dak TRX4 is solid but cheaply made. Last Dodge for me.
Chrysler is done! They can't afford coffee for the office. They are a shadow of a once great brand. I hate the thought of a foreign vehicle in our driveway but I never cared for Ford and Government Motors leaves a real bad taste in my mouth. I guess a Tacoma or Tundra will have to do.

Still driving a 98 Dakota Sport 4x4 with the 5.2 V-8. Just over 175,000 miles and the engine is very strong. Uses no oil but gets 12 MPG downhill. I really like the truck and wanted to replace it with an 08 or newer. Now that I hear they are stopping the Dakota, I doubt I will buy another one. Resale will disappear once they quit making it. Too bad, it's been a great truck and I still enjoy driving it.

My 1998 Dakota was a beautiful loser...left me stranded time and again. Then they made the thing UGLY. I sold it, bought a F-150 beater to do farm work, and swore off the Dakota.

Shame, too: with the V6 it did all the work I needed and got decent highway mileage.

I've owned 3 Dakota, presently driving a 2001 Dakota 4x4, V8 with 215000km. doesn't burn any oil and engine still runs like a charm. Had to change most of the front end but that what happens when you beat up the truck in the bush. I live in northern canada and went to Columbus Ohio to the Mopar fest because i was such a fan of there product. I'll be looking at replacing my beast this spring and Dodge isn't even on my wish list.
P.S. Is there any Toyota fest because you now have a new fan.

They shouldn't get rid of the Dakota. It's an awesome truck. THE ORIGINAL midsize truck. They just need a new fresh design. Just don't make it so boxy, give it some style, like the '97 thru '04's. And they should release some special edition models here and there similar to the Shelby Dakota and the Dakota convertable. They should also come out with a new R/T model with a Hemi.

Unibody in cars was first scoffed at too. It is possible to create a strong unibody truck frme that is capable of doing work and still lighter than a frame version, but it will take a good engineering team, and a longer than 6 month financial perspective! I own a dakota, use it for work and like the size, but the fuel economy could be better.

We need a truck like the dodge D 50 back they wre great work trucks and high mpg with todays teck.

I've owned an '87 and now drive a '96. Just a great truck, perfect for me. But I never liked the '97-up body. I do like the looks of the new Dakota but the mileage figures I've seen don't impress me. My eyes have been on the Tacoma. Recently had the chance to compare one side-by-side with my current pickup and most dimensions are the same.

Honestly, they don't need to get rid of a great truck. I own a 99 v6 with a 5spd, and i couldnt be happier with it. I considered getting a new dakota, but considering they do not come with a standard transmission anymore, i think i will just rebuild my engine. As for their sales, get rid of that hideous front end, redesign it to look a bit more like the 2nd gen dakota and drop the price 5 thousand dollars and people will come flocking back to the truck.

I have owned two Dodge Dakotas a 2000 and a 2005 both Trucks could not be better. It is a shame that Dodge/Chrsyler is considering getting ride of this truck. Unibody is not the way to go. I have been rear-ended in both of these trucks at high speeds and all I needed to replace was the bumber. In a unibody I probable would have been killed. Dodge lets go back to the drawing board and find another way to bring the sales up. If I heard a Dakota was going to have an option for a Hemi with Dual exhaust I would trade my 2005 in on one. This is the way to increase sales and keep a leagion going. You can do a style like the Ram with the bumber being formed for the dual exhaust. I have many other ideas if you would like to hear more. If the dakota is removed from Dodge you will loose me as a customer, Chevy did the same thing when they changed the S10, this is when I purchased my first Dakota. I feel allot of others will follow me and you will find your sales lower than they are now.

I owned a '97 - bought it used w/ 72K, previous owner had beaten the crap out of it and the front end was never right - and an '05 4.7.

The 5.2L was a great engine and I loved the '97. Put 100K mostly-trouble free miles on it. Too many alignments, but I think that was the abuse it already had in it. The '05 was a good truck, but lousy ground clearance, badly designed interior (the odometer cast a distracting glow in the driver's window at night) and the front brake rotors were too small. I drive a Ram now.

I think a smaller, punchy V6 w/ good MPG and less boxy design would make a decent competitor to the Tacoma and the truly woeful Frontier. Ram-Lite didn't work. You guys reinvented the small pickup - do it again!

I had a 1987 Dakota LE with the 3.9 V6. At 175,000 and relative trouble free I traded it for a 2000 Dakota Sport again with the 3.9 but now a 5-speed. Today it has 275,000 miles and still runs great. I have had to replace the ball joints twice. I am getting ready to replace it in the next year but the new 3rrd Generation Ddakota is a 3rd step down for seats the 2000 is tolerable but not near as comfortable as the 1987. Add that to the crappy white gages and the only Dakota I will consider is maybe an04 with low mileage. Not suprised that they are selling for more than 05,06 and 07 models.

I have an 05 Laramie, that's been a pleasure to own.
It's a shame Chrysler didn't put a HEMI in the Dakota as an R/T option.

I THINK THE REASON THE SALES ARE IN THE TANK IS THE STYLE. IT LOOKS LIKE IT WAS DESIGNED BY SOME ONE WORKING IN A PLYWOOD FACTORY. THE 2011 LOOKS GREAT. I HAVE A 1992 WITH 230,000 KMS. ITS BEEN TROUBLE FREE AND I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW DESIGN AND A REGULAR CAB. STILL BELIEVE IT SHOULD HAVE A HEMI OPTION.

The current Dakota is a pretty good truck, if a bit on the ugly side, but it is just too expensive and not efficient enough. The corporate guys are right this time; it competes too much with the Ram!

With the new fuel economy regulations coming down the pipes, you can forget the Dakota being replaced by anything with a Hemi. If you needa big truck, buy a big truck.

However, for anyone that believes unibody trucks all have to be as ugly and incapable as the Ridgeline, pay attention to what Don said above. The Jeep Comanche, based on the Cherokee, was a unibody truck, that had a 2205lb payload capacity; the higest of any compact truck at the time, including the Dakota! It was just the right size, could tow 5000lbs, and was great offroad. It just needed an extended cab version.

I'll be in the market in a couple of years for a new compact truck, if they can make one efficient enough, and I hope Chrysler figures something out. I don't need it to tow a house, I just want utility and functionability. If the Ram brand can't do it maybe jeep will.

I just traded my 1007 dakota for a nissan rogue, 12 mpg was the best I ever got on the dodge, come on they can do better than that, thing is I loved the dodge. I don't think chrysler can last till fiet get's here.

I have loved my 2002 Dakota Quad 4x4. Still only 86000 miles. Was thinking of trading for a new one but the 2011 doesnt show much change. Really not that wild about the newer styling. Mine has been pretty much trouble free but loves gas with the 4.7. Fuel economy and price biggest drawbacks to the new models. Tacoma..here I come.

I would LOVE a smaller, unibody pickup! Whoever makes one will rule the small truck market. MOST people who are looking for small trucks merely want the "truck look" and the ability to occasionally take a piece of plywood home from Home Depot.

Look at how unibody car based SUV's have replaced the original truck based SUV's in the marketplace.

A lot of people DON'T want that "truck ride and drive", nor do they want truck gas mileage.

While I probably wouldn't choose a unibody pickup, I think they'll sell well.

I'd be thrilled with someone just taking these giant "small" pickups and shrinking them. Why can't we have small trucks the size of the old seventies and eighties Datsuns and Toyota pickups?

I wouldn't mind a unibody Dakota longs as it is still rear wheel drive. Cause if they think fwd is better look at the reviews of the ridgeline, most claim the mileage is not better than the traditional truck. And with the new Grand Cherokee leading to a new Durango theres a good basis for a new truck. Cause if they're not thinking regular pickup stying, think better looking Avalanche. GM has already thrown the idea of unibody pickup together with one of their Concept vehicles. My only issue with it was it sat to low to the ground, but the looks were alright.

Oh, almost forgot the Hemi is must have option and with the new Pentastar V6 Gas mileage should be pretty good.

dakota J'Ai Nations unies de 2001 3,9 litres de 15000 kilomètres . Je Suis Très satifait de CE véhicule. Chrysler devrais amilioré la Consommation du Dakota du et continuateur de le construct .

I had an '01 dak for 3 problem free years. got rear ended by a nissan mini van at high speed and pushed into a 2004 lexus, the guy that hit me was not wearing a seat belt ( bad idea) left in an ambulance, car was totaled,the lexus bumper and trunk were damaged both qurter panels pushed into the rear wheels and had to be towed, i drove away had my bumpers replaced and a few dings banged out.drove it a few more months and got an 04 dak. still driving today with 125000 trouble free miles,i will never buy a jap car. so to the boys over at dodge howbout' a 4 cyclider turbo diesel that tow's 7500 pounds and gets 30 mph while doing it.

I had a 94 Dak 4x4 V8 5sp. that I bought new, which was a great farm/work truck. After almost 200K miles the frame rusted out. I replaced it with a new 08 Tacoma V6. A mistake. Not nearly as capable (tow, haul or plow), and it went back to the dealer for major problems more times than any other new or used car I ever bought. I recently replaced it with a used 04 Dak v-8 in very good shape. Much better! I wish "Ram" would go back to making something similar to the 03-04, with the new V6 hemi. That would be a nice product.

I just bought another new dakota. This time a fully loaded 2011 TRX .I have had many new dakotas, and when I heard they were discontinuing the Dakota after 2011, I had to get one more. It's a shame that an American icon is being replaced by a foriegn car company that wasn't a very good car company here before. I got one of the last ones, and savoring it.

I've got a 92 Dakota LE...my 3rd first gen Dakota. I wasn't a real big fan on the "look like big brother look" of the 97+ years. Even more so when the later modeled - big front bumper - look cam out. I took one look at the current styling and design and said all right now this is more like it. If I could ever justify buying a new vehicle, this would be more to my liking. When I took one look at the new Durango, all I wanted to know is when will the Dakota look like this, to hell with justifying the purchase…I want it. When I started to investigate I see this unibody talk...what the heck? I love the size and design of this truck, please keep a frame. I don't want nor need a full size RAM. This truck is the perfect size and you can get it with a V8!! If you want to build a new R/T too...I won't argue. The reason sales are down...you can't just get a truck the way you want it, you've got very few option choices. Gone are the days when you can get a base version with what you want. I priced up a new Dakota, and by the time I was done with what I wanted - and a bunch of stuff I didn't but had to take - it topped $32k...really!!! Why can't I get a SE with a V8, I don't want all that leather and electronics crap. IMO you don't buy a truck for that (I know this in the minority opinion these days). I understand you can't please everyone, but you now have two versions of this truck. Something the post office/parts chaser would use and one that's a luxury over-appointed version that cost's too much and never sees an ounce of work. Where's the middle ground? Please build me a body on frame mid-size truck with the 2011 styling, 6.5' bed, and a auto V8!! Otherwise I'm going to have to buy a used one and figure out how to graft this front end on to it. I hate it when Dodge does it wrong for so many years and then just when they get it right…they pull the plug

What a shame they are going to ruin what was a great little truck that could haul as much as the big guys. I've been buying Dakotas since 93 and trading in about every three years ending with the 03 I have now, I just couldn't stand the looks of the first redesign. As I said, I'm driving an 2003 Dakota Quad cab 4x4 4.7 v-8 just a little over 73,000. As of late, I'm been hauling fire wood with her as she doesn't even blink at carrying over a face cord of wood. The picture I've seen of 2012 Dakota (allpar.com) I'll admit it looks sharp, but it's going to be useless to haul anything it looks like a couple cement blocks in the back and it's rear'll be dragging. So Dodge if your reading this, WAKE UP and give us back our Dakotas that we all love!

As a Dakota owner 1986 I have nothing but praise for it, except for a transmission rebuild I have now 790000 km s on it, my wife likes it a around house truck, and often brings out fuel and dinner to me in the field, and checks on the cows in the pasture often.A real handy truck and great comfort even though it does not have bucket seats Too bad they dont bring in the M80 design and interior bucket seats

IOWNED dIODGE PICKUPS FOR A LONG TIME AND NOW HAVE A NEW DAKOTA.tO ME IT IS THE BEST PICKUP i VE EVER OWNED BUT TO EACH HIS OWN.sURE HATE TO SEE THE DODGE DAKOTA NOT BEING MADE ANYMORE BUT WILL STILL BE A LOYAL DODGE FAN.

I 've had my share of Dakota's,seven to be exact. I love them. however, if they quit making them i'll go to another brand. My concept of a midsize truck is to be smaller and cheaper and and easier on fuel. The Dakota never was good on gas. Change a few things on the Dakota and keep making them. I'll buy one.

I would hope that the greatest mid-size truck would not fall victim to the whole the shrinking market excuse. I would rather spend the money to get a truck that I don't feel stuffed into like the Ranger or Colorado. I would think that with some rethinking on power train and engines that the mpgs can be brought up and I am sure that the trucks price could be made more customer friendly. It would be a extreme shame to see this line of trucks go away.

Part of the Dakota problem is that the gas mileage was not any better than the full size truck- and maybe just $1,000 more to get a full size Dodge 1500 verses Dakota. I loved my 2004, had no problems except vaccuum lines/gas cap/engine repair light. The new styling sucked,too. Too bad they did not make it look like the full size Dodge with top raked forward style, or the front end of a Durango, giving the impression of round headlights. Have a Tacoma now, runs great,no problems but a V-6. My Dakota had a 4.7 V* and had "easy power" to pull my compact tractor.

I have a 2000 Dodge Dakota and Loved it! 4.7L V8 engine only issues Is the frame! Had to take it off the road after 16 year due to frame issues! I have a suggestion for the frames here in Vt and all the salt put on roads...add rubber to the frames so they can't rust. I bet this truck would have lasted me another 16 years if it weren't for the frame! Sad how many vehicles are on people front lawns with frame issues! I won't buy even a new vehicle here in Vt can't trust dealers. The tractor supply has sheets of rubber...must be possible to protect frame with that! Time for some major changes.



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