A leading Ram executive is heading to Brazil subsequent week as the truck maker increasingly cozies up to the thought of adding a smaller sized pickup to its lineup.
The trip comes right after Mike Manley, global head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep and Ram brands, told The Detroit News that an “opportunity” exists in the U.S. midsize pickup market.
“I think that space is big sufficient, certainly, to have two offerings there,” Manley stated at final week’s New York Auto Show, referring to the recently-announced Wrangler pickup and a hypothetical Ram model.
The midsize market, dominated by the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins and Toyota Tacoma, has shown considerable growth and has the potential to benefit an automaker willing to add a third entry.
Manley didn’t confirm a new Ram, but the trip to Brazil by Ram International head Bob Hegbloom clearly signals the beginning of a item method. Hegbloom will be hunting at partnership opportunities between Ram and the company’s Latin American Fiat division, Manley stated.
Without its personal midsize architecture, and with tiny capacity to develop and create such a vehicle in the U.S. (where concentrate remains on the powerful-selling Ram 1500 and 2500 models), tapping Fiat could be the only way forward.
In the Brazilian marketplace, Fiat has just rolled out its new Toro pickup, although FCA’s Mexico factory produces the Fiat Fullback pickup (primarily based on the Mitsubishi L200).
The Toro is a unibody four-door pickup based on the Fiat Modest-Wide platform that underpins the Jeep Renegade. Energy comes from a 1.eight-liter 4-cylinder engine or two.-liter diesel 4, mated to a six-speed manual or six- or nine-speed automatic transmission.
When Hegbloom was head of Ram’s North American division (a post now occupied by former Jeep head Jim Morrison), he bemoaned the fact that the firm couldn’t attain the fuel economy ratings necessary to market a smaller pickup alongside the larger Ram.
That was then, but now the winds of modify look to be blowing…from south of the border.
[Image: Fiat Toro, FCA Group]