Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has big plans for the Ram Dakota. Inside Line spoke with Marchionne at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, and the besweatered executive said there is a good chance the next-generation Dakota will likely ride on a unibody chassis. That would mark a serious departure from the vehicle's past, as well as the rest of the models in the compact pickup segment (save the at-the-margins Honda Ridgeline), but ditching the frame could give the vehicle a fuel-efficiency edge. If that wasn't a large enough bombshell for you, Marchionne also made mention of the kind of powertrain we can expect to see from the new Dakota.

According to the executive, it only makes sense for the next-generation Ram Dakota to come equipped with a diesel engine. With the Jeep Grand Cherokee set to receive an oil-burning powerplant of its own, spreading the cost of engine development across multiple models only makes sense. We like the sound of a small, lightweight, diesel-powered pickup.

Meanwhile, Ward's Auto reports the Dodge Durango may receive a diesel engine of its own. Marchionne reportedly stressed that Fiat knows diesel technology, and that since the Grand Cherokee is being engineered for a diesel engine in European markets, it wouldn't seem to be that much of a stretch to translate the work into the Durango.

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