Ram CEO Continues to Resist Midsize Entry

Ram Truck & Commercial timeline II

The most significant hurdle keeping Ram CEO Robert Hegbloom from jumping into the midsize pickup truck segment is building an entry that meets or exceeds the fuel-economy expectations at a price that's economically feasible.

According to Automotive News, Hegbloom continues to believe — as he has for a while — that four key criteria need to be met for a midsize pickup to make sense for Ram. Those criteria are capability, size, cost and fuel efficiency, and Hegbloom looks at them relative to the full-size Ram 1500. And until all four of those key features are met, they'll be sticking to their previous product plan map. 

In past interviews with PickupTrucks.com, Hegbloom has noted that customers are looking for and expecting a new midsize entry to get good fuel economy, in the neighborhood of 35 mpg, and hover around the $20,000 mark. That's a difficult target to hit nowadays, but some rumors have Ram working on a light-duty shared-platform player based on a European Fiat vehicle. In the meantime, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced that Fiat and Mitsubishi (L200) will be sharing a global midsize player for their commercial divisions.

Of note: The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado will have a small diesel option available later this year, likely making it the most fuel-efficient pickup sold in the U.S. (although we don't know pricing yet). Right now that accolade is held by the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.

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Comments

The light duty Ram needs something new and exciting pretty soon. Its getting almost boring as the competitors all have much newer offerings now. Took a look at a new F150 the other day and liked it. I now wonder just how well they will hold together with all of the changes.

Robert Hegbloom is a very smart man.

You notice that he never really touches the dreaded CAFE word in his remarks here. That's because customers are king.

He can afford to let someone else fuss over CAFE, if your customers aren't with you, you can forget the rest.

RAM can win with the right produce mix, but the years ahead are very tough, given the market's expectations and the incredible growth the RAM brand has enjoyed during the last 10 years.

From a business plan decision Roberts statements make perfect sense. Why go through the trouble of developing a vehicle platform that will be low margin.

Personally I still see a spot for a light duty truck type of vehicle in the FCA portfolio from Jeep. A modified Wrangler would be an easy platform change/conversion and would likely be marketed as a higher level / trim with higher margins.

Has anyone heard what the RAM 2015 light duty minor update is going to be? I was looking at the GM Mid-sizers (love the size), but with a family of 6, my wife is mandating that we be able to fit EVERYONE, just in case. I will start shopping around once the Titan comes out. Hopefully, this re-fresh on the RAM will be around the same time or earlier. If the price point for the 1/2 tons is too high, I WILL be upgrading to the 3/4 ton. Ram ecoboost for ~$5 less than a 2500 makes no sense to me and I keep my vehicles for a while. We'll see where the numbers come in or it's off to used car lot.

The Pentastar and ZF-8 speed would be an amazing combo in a smaller truck. That would near the eco-diesel's mileage and be more than $5,000 cheaper, probably closer to $7,000. I get that they don't want to spend the engineering hours/$ on a new frame and sheetmetal

Personally I still see a spot for a light duty truck type of vehicle in the FCA portfolio from Jeep. A modified Wrangler...

@MCJ you can do that, but the wrangler based pickup will not get even close to the mileage figures that buyers expect from a midsize. Even with some of Ford's magic dust.

Instead, Fiat/Chrysler needs to import an Asian product via some kind of partnership.

A competitive truck from Mitsubishi might do it. See how it sells. See what dealers thinks.

The wrangler you describe would be a specialty item that people want but it would not sell in any kind of numbers. Like a Corvette--everybody wants one, but they cost too much for the average guy.

There is just not that much market for midsize trucks for everyone to jump in and have one. That is a fact. GM is struggling to sell their new version of the Colorado and Canyon and have only matched what the last versions sales numbers were.

I think the only reason the first wave of midsize pickups sold well for a shot period was because of the gas shortages which all turned out to be a big lie.

People are just not going to fall for that BS again. Midsize pickups will forever remain a small market.

I have to laugh at pickuptrucks.com in the way they selectively cut and pasted this to make it what they wanted it to say rather than what was really said.

""The problem comes down to fuel economy and price. With fullsize pickups currently approaching 30 mpg, a midsize pickup would have to deliver significant better fuel economy figures in order for it to be a compelling alternative to a fullsize truck, an issue GM now faces to some extent with the Colorado and Silverado. The duo has brushed up against its larger sibling when it comes to price and fuel economy, though it is too early to tell how the Canyon and the Colorado will do long-term. But the questions that these trucks face have made other manufacturers wary.""

The Colorado's MPG is not that much better than most full size. One factor that RAM and Ford don't look at when discussing mid size is that some people like the size. Why do you think so many people buy Tacomas.

Good news for GM! Ram and Ford does not to face the fact that the mid size pickup is back. Their loss until they realize their lower sales are from the mid size market.

Sad Sack, what planet do you live on? The new GM mid size pickups outsold the new Ford F150 last month and they are not up to full production yet. Ram and Ford are late to the market now and does not want to admit their mistake. Good for GM and bad for Ram and Ford.

HA loser Pinto owners!

Now shove it where the sun don't shine!

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

Ram has to realize that opportunity is knocking cause the F-150 is going to fail and the Colorado is going to succeed

Looks to me that GM is in the best situation right now by giving the customer a choice between the Silverado and the Colorado.

I don't think Ram has confidence in their trucks, at the same time the people that own them are obsessed with them

Team oxy

is that heater blower motor still running in that Tacoma?
now? you didn't drop a pencil down the defroster vent and damaged that heater blower motor ,,, did you?
how's that plastic bed (oh I mean space age composite material) holding up?
front wheel bearings and rear axle seals ok?

I read on a Malaysian car site that the image of the vehicle we saw the other day of a FCA light pickup was actually going to be a Fiat small pickup.

Globally, FCA doesn't have a midsize pickup. This is probably the most lucrative light segment anywhere in the world at the moment.

This is evident by Mercedes Benz wanting to get a piece of the action.

It's a pity the US is left out of this. I suppose the raft of policies, regulation and controls protecting the US light truck segment will one day come home to roost.

Under the current regime of repressive light truck controls and measures in the US Hegbloom's comments are justified.

@Greg, the sales of the gm midsize twins are about where they were for the sorry old models they used to have. Ford and ram seem pretty set on not doing smaller trucks even though it would be nice to see the Ranger make a return. Best vehicle I'd ever owned was a Ranger. Hey those straws you grasp at will run out one day and gm will fail again. They done screwed over to many people. Namely us tax paying Americans.

@Truckcrazy,
The problem with the US and midsizers is they can only be manufactured in a NAFTA country.

As the CEO of VW North America stated, they will not introduce their midsize Amarok because the market isn't large enough to produce 100 000 Amaroks per year.

He also stated if the chicken tax wasn't there they would import them.

Ford will not manufacture a midsize pickup that will be competitive with the new F-150. Ford has expended massive resources in this vehicle.

Ram, since FCA took over they have concentrated on Ram. If the US pickup market had different influences in the direction it is heading in, it would be a different story.

Choice is key. If you can't get the size truck from your favorite manufacturer you will go elsewhere. Fact.

Yet people keep buying full size trucks by a huge margin over midsize trucks. So I guess the people have spoken.

Gm sold more of its midsize twins in the shortest month of the year (february) then it sold last month (March) which March is historically one of the better months of the year for truck sales but somehow GM sold less of them in March compared to February. Heck the New F150 outsold the GM twins by around 10,000 trucks. 29% of the f series sales last month (march) were of the new aluminum f150. GM is going to need many, many years of midsize sales, since they are pretty dismal, just to recoup the cost of developing, testing, and delivering. The US market is flooded with midsize vs midsize demand and its a losing venture as GM is finding out currently.

Good job Ram, keep the small trucks in the car segment, and continue to build on the success of the current Ram

I kinda wish it was economically feasible for Ram/FCA to bring the Friat Strada/Ram 700 across the boarder to the US. I know they've said the costs were not inline with what they expected out of sales to make it US compliant. But, it is kind of a neat set up. Its small, economical, capable and functional. It probably could use a little less plastic cladding. It's nice to have a small bed, 4x4 traction, and a enough room inside without having to go to a full size pickup. Too bad import regulations are so tight. Rules should be changed for individual use.

Fiat could bring the Strada aka Ram700 to the USA if it was built in a tariff free zone but why would they? They would rather sell you a Pentastar Ram or Ecodiesel Ram with considerably higher profit margins.

FCA does need to improve mpg across the board or hope CAFE rules get adjusted. It is starting to look like we will get readjusted CAFE ratings.

has anyone ever thought the reason why the midsize market is weak in the USA is because the auto makers don't offer a "good" midsize truck???

BRING BACK THE 97-2003 DODGE DAKOTA and put a better gas efficient engine in it. They will sell like crazy. People keep saying that full size trucks outsell midsize still... well helloooo, nobody makes midsize trucks! until now

...and quit with all this technology crap and expensive sensors we don't need. All it does is drive up the price. rotory shifters, wifi, wood trim... we don't need it



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