Chrysler is officially killing the 2011 Ram Dakota this week, which the UAW fears may lead to nearly 150 hourly positions getting the chop. The move has already spelled the end for 39 temporary positions at Chrysler's Warren Truck Plant.

Chrysler brass say they still haven't figured out who's getting cut, but if says if there are layoffs, the workers would likely be reassigned to another operation.

According to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, the Dakota will likely be replaced with a "lifestyle vehicle." Chrysler sold a scant 13,000 Dakotas last year. By contrast, Dodge moved 177,000 of the midsize pickups in 2000.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 98 Comments
      MechE
      • 3 Years Ago
      There certainly is a very clear business case why the big3 can't justify keeping smaller trucks in their line-up. However, I feel like they could keep these small pick-ups around if they kept them......SMALL. 4-cyl engines, short wheelbase, on road suspension and tires, regular and extended cab (no quad cab). Basic and cheap, then you wouldnt have this issue of the smaller truck creeping into the price and capability range of the 1/2 ton trucks.
        billfrombuckhead
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MechE
        It costs a least a billion dollars to build a new platform. A small pickup truck chassis is very specific and couldn't be used to build a modern variety of anything else. Remember the collapse of 'body on frame " Suv's? It would be very hard to to justify spending this much money for a form factor that isn't selling so well and couldn't be shared. Maybe Chrysler can do something with a the next minivan platform or bring in the FIAT mini el camino fake truck from Brasil. There continues to talk about half ton diesel full size trucks from Nissan and the Detroit 3. I bet we see those first as well much more fuel efficient and refined gas V6 full size trucks.
          ThomasP
          • 3 Years Ago
          @billfrombuckhead
          @bill this is why they are doing the opposite; instead of justifying a small pickup with a body-on-fram SUV counterpart, they will build a unibody pickup from an already viable crossover platform. This will give the pickup plenty of utility and keep it distinct from the full size truck. Imagine if the Dodge Nitro were a pickup truck instead of a crossover to compete with the identical Liberty? I'm just going to let that sink in.
        Ashton
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MechE
        I completely agree. Small trucks will always have their place. I'm hoping that Ford comes out with a newly designed ranger... aggressive looks, in a small package. (the overseas 2012 ranger looks like crap, and its to big, I'm hoping Ford will release info on a smaller American one soon)
        Andrew
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MechE
        Well, when the Dakota was introduced, Dodge had a small truck, the Ram 50, it just was a dud seller. Also, I've read that the small size and engines that the little trucks had in the 80s wouldn't pass today's safety requirements. It's the same reason you don't have little 75cc rice burners getting 40 mpgs anymore like you did in the late 70s/early 80s. Safety requirements make cars substantially heavier, which requires more horsepower.
      JamesJ
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is a shame that they couldn't improve the truck instead of killing it off. I think they should have built the Dodge M80, that truck was simple and stylish.
      sinistro79
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only 13,000 Dakotas sold last year??? I guess this means we will also never see a production version of the Jeep Gladiator then. What a shame...
      GoFaster58
      • 3 Years Ago
      Both Ford and Chrysler screwed the pooch on their small pickups. They never kept up with the times. Fords lame excuse for getting rid of the Ranger is just that, lame. Guess I'll be leaving Ford for another manufacturer. I'm a Ford man but after what they did to the Ranger forget it.
      Tweaker
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey Autoblog: The Dakota is not a "compact" truck. Get your categories straight.
      Bill Burke
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Dakota was quite popular for years until the latest edition. Styling that was questionable and quirky, sized incorrectly and saddled with a cheap and ugly interior, the last Dakota killed its market quicly. Ram has an opportunity to redefine the model and the market it targets with a new truck. Lets hope they get it right this time around. If they recapture the lost loyalists and defines a new niche for itself, the Ram brand will have a profitable vehicle in their portfolio.
      billfrombuckhead
      • 3 Years Ago
      Of all the compact trucks the most fake is the Tacoma Prerunner, a fake 4x4 truck. When ghetto kids jack up their old GM hoopties they get made fun of but when the great Toyota does it to their crummy fake pickup, it's just wonderful. What hypocrisy.
        Tanooki2003
        • 3 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        Rather than risk making yourself seem more foolish, i suggest concentrating on concentrating on your school work and completing your homework assignments
      HydraulicDragon
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's not exactly a "compact pickup" anyway. I'd rather go for a fullsize anyway, and something that's definitely not made by Chrysler.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @HydraulicDragon
        [blocked]
      billfrombuckhead
      • 3 Years Ago
      RAM ought have a ad like Dodge has comparing the Durango to the Explorer by hooking a chain between them and having tug of war. The RAM ad should hook chain between a RAM HEMI and a Tacoma V6 and start the ad by saying these trucks get similar gas mileage and then let the RAM just start abusing the the Toy truck. Cap the ad off with a big guy jumping on the tailgate of the Taco and collapsing it.
        NightFlight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        The Ram and the Tacoma don't compete with eachother, so that'd be stupid....
          jtav2002
          • 3 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          Actually, they don't compete in any sense. Whatsoever, no matter how you spin it. So stop being stupid. You could compare any random vehicles if you're comparing it on fuel economy. Of course the Ram is going to tow more and have more room, it's a full size truck. What's next, you going to tell me a cargo van has more interior space than a Corvette? As far as being a vanity purcahse. LOL. The Tacoma, and mid size trucks in general have plenty of purpose and capability. Not everyone needs to tow 10,000lbs and carry 6 people. Half the time I see people with mid sizers using their truck for more truck activities than people with full size trucks. Most people don't need to tow more than 6500 lbs. Most people just need to haul some stuff around, tow lighter loads, and maybe do some off roading. No need to to buy a bigger truck than you need. Bring any Ram(save for maybe a Power Wagon) and bring it off roading with a Tacoma. The Tacoma WILL run circles around it. The new Rams are pretty nice, but at least make accurate comparisons so you don't make yourself sound any dumber than you obviously are. The article is about the Dakota and comparing the Dakota to the Tacoma would be the only thing making sense here. Oh, and since diesel trucks can get 20mpg too, lets take a 3500HD diesel, any brand, and hook that chain up to the Ram. Will be fun watching it rip the rear end right out. I mean come on, they're both trucks and get 20 mpg. That's an accurate comparo, isn't it? Oh, the Ram 1500 can't tow 23,000lbs? What a hoax of a truck. /sarcasm.
          Synthono
          • 3 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          billfrombuckhead: Then, if the Ram is so good, why can't they make a decent small to mid-size truck? I do not want a Ram 1500, it's too damn big. It doesn't fit in my driveway, it has more engine than I'll ever need, and if they can pull off 20 mpg with a big stonking V8 there's literally no reason why they can't pull off significantly better mileage in a smaller, lighter truck with a smaller engine. I don't need to tow, I don't need 390hp and I don't need the sheer bulk of a Ram 1500. But I do need to haul crap away from my house. Because Dodge can't be arsed to develop the Dakota, and Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota similarly can't be arsed to update their compacts, there is no truck for me. I don't need a Ram 1500, I need something much smaller. My next door neighbors tossed their Ram after a month because while it gets 20 mpg on the highway, they do a lot of city driving and the cost of filling it wasn't worth having all that capability they don't use - they currently have a Dakota, which isn't perfect but better for them. This "Well get a full size!" attitude is a pain in the ass for people who aren't driving trucks to compensate for something, but because we need to do some light, messy hauling. A Ram 1500 is more truck than I'll ever need, but it's not like Chrysler is selling anything else, so I'll go elsewhere thanks.
          WillieD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          He meant the Dakota competing with the Tacoma. Both trucks aren't very good anyway.
      razrrick13
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think the biggest problem was why pay good money for the Dakota when you could could a decent Ram (thats a little bigger and tougher) for around the same price or even a little cheaper. Plus Ram 1500s usually have have lots of incentives chopping the price.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        HydraulicDragon
        • 3 Years Ago
        I've worked as a mechanic for years and I've had my hands on plenty of Chryslers. It's kind of hard to explain, but for some reason I feel like their engineers are always high, or drunk, or both. Ever changed the battery in an Intrepid or Stratus? Jack the car up, take off the left front wheel, remove the inner fender, remove bolts holding down battery from above through the engine compartment, disconnect the terminals, and replace the battery. Repeat all in reverse. I don't car if Dodge claims it's for better weight distribution. It's only an inch or two lower than the battery in my Nissan Altima, and I can change that in 1/3 of the time. Every single person I've known to own a Chrysler has had to work more on their vehicle to keep it running than almost any other American or Japanese manufacturer, and usually winds up sinking a lot more money into their vehicle. Chrysler is getting much better nowadays, yes, but it will probably be at least two years before I considered buying a new one. Oh, and I can't forget this. http://www.autorecalls.us/aut-04/recalls/2011/dodge/ram-1500/89387.html
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          Intrepid or Stratus? I'm sorry, but Chrysler doesn't even produce those cars anymore. Oh and that recall...your point? Chrysler isn't the only manufacturer to have recalls like that. You act like it is.
          HydraulicDragon
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          @Elmo I was comparing those vehicles to my '97 Nissan which was originally designed in 1992 for the 1993 model year. It's simply poor engineering. As for recalls, Ford has some of the most advanced electronics in the industry, and during a 6 day period one of their suppliers apparently produced faulty electronics. Their recall totaled 22,759 vehicles, while Ram's total 60,382. Plus, we've been using live axles for how long? How old is the design? A faulty bearing in an axle from the factory? Their solution is to install an oil port in the axle. You'd think that they would have fixed that before production, and/or caught it a lot earlier. I once had a customer tell me he had his 2011 Ram into the dealer 5+ times for some rear axle issue, but I never thought it would be as simple as a poorly engineered bearing.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          Chryslers are awful, the least reliable of American brands in my experience.. And rarely do they have powertrains that are competitive or make them worth buying. Look at the specs of the new Phoenix motor; it falls short of it's Ford and GM competition.. as always.
          Carnut0913
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          Ever changed the battery in an Intrepid or Stratus? Jack the car up, take off the left front wheel, remove the inner fender, remove bolts holding down battery from above through the engine compartment, disconnect the terminals, and replace the battery. Repeat all in reverse. I don't car if Dodge claims it's for better weight distribution. It's only an inch or two lower than the battery in my Nissan Altima, and I can change that in 1/3 of the time. Just found that out on my mother's Intrepid. Thankfully, AAP installs batteries for free! took him an hour. yikes. It really is ridiculous. If the battery dies on the road in the rain, you are hosed.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          2 Wheeled Menace, chassis dynos seem to disagree with you about it falling short to the Ford 3.7L Duratec and GM's Direct Injected 3.6L. 283hp is a very under-rated number for that engine.
          HydraulicDragon
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          @Elmo Numbers are not the only thing that matters, although that is the thing most often pointed out by owners of Chrysler vehicles. Sure your Hemi has an amazing amount of power, but they're really not very technically advanced compared to Ford's Ecoboost. The Viper motor (while one of my favorite cars) only had two valves per cylinder and was a giant 8.4 liters, and only had 600 HP. While that sounds cool and all, Chevrolet popped a 6.162 liter with an Eaton supercharger in their Corvette achieving 638 hp. It just seems that with Dodge products, large numbers help sell their vehicles, not technology. The new Durango and Cherokee seem like fine vehicles, but the company has yet to prove to me that their offerings are better than other manufacturers. And the 200 is advertised as a luxury car. It's quite a long shot I'll consider a 200 or 300 over a Lincoln or Cadillac. I do hope that they improve the Avenger however and give it a RWD setup, or at least push AWD. I believe if they actually spent some money on engineering they could have a fun little sedan for people not looking to go up to Charger level. The hardest part for me is admitting that I love Chrysler and Dodge's looks. They are car artisans that put more time and effort into making their product look good, rather than be reliable. The exact opposite of Toyota.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        LMAO! Wow, lemme guess, you let the biased Ram commercials make your opinions? This is coming from the same guy who doesn't believe that one engine went through that much abuse that Ford put it through even though there was a public tear down of that same engine. Ram fanboy, much?
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          [blocked]
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