Ram Promises New Truck in Union Victory: Midsize Pickup in the Works?
One of the agreements that may bring an end to the longest auto industry strike since the 1970s is good, not just for workers but for truck fans. Alongside raises and new organizing powers, the union won a new truck for Americans.
The 46-day United Auto Workers (UAW) strike may be over, as the union has reached a tentative agreement with each of Detroit’s three major automakers. Union members must still vote to accept the deal and could walk off the job again if they aren’t satisfied with what negotiators won for them. But the headlines this morning are full of union victories.
One of those victories is a promise from Stellantis, the parent company of Ram, that it will introduce a new truck.
UAW Vice President Rich Boyer, summarizing the agreement for workers, noted that “we have won a new vehicle” at Illinois’ Belvidere Assembly Plant. “It will be a midsize truck.” Stellantis, he says, will also “be adding over 1,000 jobs at a new battery plant at Belvidere.”
The Belvidere plant has sat idle since February, when it ceased production of the Jeep Cherokee small SUV.
Stellantis hasn’t formally commented. So, we don’t officially know if the vehicle will be a Ram. But Stellantis sells all but one of its pickups under the Ram brand (the Jeep Gladiator is the only exception), so Ram would be the natural badge to fix on a new truck.
With that in mind, what new truck will appear in the Ram lineup soon? There are two likely answers.
Option One: The Dakota Reborn
Boyer specifically said the new truck would be “midsize.” Stellantis lacks a conventional midsize truck (the Gladiator is more of an off-roader with a bed) to compete with the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Colorado.
Ram could resurrect an old name for a new midsize truck. The original Dakota was sold from 1987 through 2011 when Ram was part of the Dodge brand. It was, at times, the best-selling midsize truck in America, remembered for its distinctive crossed grille and semi-truck-like stepped headlights.
Ram reportedly showed its dealers a design for a reborn Dakota pickup earlier this year.
Option Two: The Rampage
But Ram has a second option ready to go. The company debuted a new small truck called the Rampage earlier this year. Ram sells it only in Brazil, but the design seemed suspiciously American – right down to the stars and stripes in the taillights. We speculated at the time that the Rampage was probably headed for the U.S. eventually.
But the Belvidere plant is currently set up to build car-like unibody constructed vehicles like the Cherokee, and the Rampage is made with that technology. An actual body-on-frame truck would require significant retooling in the factory.
So we can’t say which truck Ram will debut for the U.S. But the company has apparently committed to at least one more.
In conclusion, the United Auto Workers strike has brought about positive changes for workers and truck enthusiasts. As part of the agreement between the union and Stellantis, a new midsize truck will be introduced. While it is unclear whether the truck will be a Ram, Ram is the most likely brand considering Stellantis’ lineup of pickups. The two potential options for the new truck are the Dakota Reborn, a revival of the popular Dakota nameplate, or the Rampage, a smaller truck that has already been introduced in Brazil. The final decision will depend on various factors, including the manufacturing capabilities of the Belvidere plant. Nonetheless, truck fans can look forward to an exciting addition to the Ram lineup in the near future.