• May 7, 2014
During the Fiat-Chrysler briefings on Tuesday, Reid Bigland, head of Ram Trucks, outlined the new product plans for his brand, including confirmation that an all-new light-duty Ram 1500 will launch in 2017. From there, discussions spun off in two directions, with the main questions being: will Ram build a midsize pickup? And, following Ford's move to extensively use aluminum in its new 2015 F-150, will Chrysler be using this weight-saving material for the next round of its fullsize truck, as well?

"I think there is room for a Ram 1000," Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne (pictured above) told members of the media, saying this is a conversation the automaker has been having internally for several years now. "We've tried this ... we've actually taken it to clinics," Marchionne stated, adding that the "response has been lukewarm."

"I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck." – Sergio Marchionne

Bigland echoed Marchionne's thoughts, saying that, in theory, a midsize pickup in the NAFTA region (North America and Canada) makes sense. That said, with the company's new plans to consolidate platforms, such a vehicle would have to be unibody – not body-on-frame, like most pickups. And when asked about a Wrangler pickup – something enthusiasts would enjoy, and something that Jeep has considered before – Marchionne, along with Jeep head Michael Manley, said there are no plans to produce such a vehicle at this time.

Moving to the question of aluminum, Marchionne said that Fiat-Chrysler still has reservations about using this metal in the creation of its next Ram 1500, and that the company will be watching the F-150 launch very closely. Should the F-150 prove to be hugely successful, Marchionne said Ram is ready to respond – "if it's the right answer, Chrysler will be there."

Interestingly, the CEO remarked on several occasions that aluminum would be used elsewhere in the Fiat-Chrysler portfolio. And when asked if there's a better use of aluminum than with the new Jeep Wrangler, Marchionne very bluntly responded, "No." A Wrangler with aluminum components? Color us intrigued.

"We can do aluminum in '17," Marchionne said, regarding the Ram 1500. But every time the lightweight metal was brought up, he simply reminded us, "I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck."


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  • 43 Comments
      waetherman
      • 7 Months Ago
      Take a Ram 1000 and the response is lukewarm, yet there's still "room for it" while every time Jeep comes out with a pickup concept (which are always midsized) the fans go wild and it's not under consideration? And Jeep is making every other kind of shibtox to appeal the masses, and pickups are one of the hottest and biggest profit sectors? C'mon, Jeep. Get it together.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 7 Months Ago
        @waetherman
        Agreed. A Jeep Scrambler would be the hot ticket
        Carpinions
        • 7 Months Ago
        @waetherman
        Maybe their rationale against a Jeep pickup is that even small trucks get used for work-work sorts of things for businesses big and small, and The Serg doesn't want the brand watered down in that way. Plus, even base small trucks are expected to work hard, get decent MPG, etc. Is Jeep the brand to fill that niche? I've seen Jeeps used for businesses plenty of times, but those tend to be image-focused purchases (say, for a local 24 hour gym) rather than for hauling around an exterminator's canisters or a painter's supplies. Ram's image is still best for those things, and if they can sell plenty of V6 1500s for these people, the Jeep pickup will never happen.
      Arizonarelax
      • 7 Months Ago
      I have always enjoyed as of late - the truck over the muscle car wars. Reading the above AB article and elsewhere re: Fiat/Chrysler press conferences, it is almost like watching a chess match with the excitement of the final two Texas Hold'em players - Ford and Dodge pickups - Chevy went all-in and just didn't get the cards.
      Bradford
      • 7 Months Ago
      "I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck." Why mus it be mutually exclusive?
      UN4GTBL
      • 7 Months Ago
      "a midsize pickup in the NAFTA region (North America and Canada) makes sense." TIL that Canada isn't part of North America.
        imoore
        • 7 Months Ago
        @UN4GTBL
        Are you referring to Canada as a whole, or just Quebec?
      Eric Sibley
      • 7 Months Ago
      Not too concerned about Ram, but I was really pining my hopes on a Jeep truck. Given what the aftermarket is doing (AEV, not to mention Mopar), I'd think there was a ton of room for a stock Wrangler with a pickup bed. And spare me the 'we're concerned about it being off-road capable' argument. A Wrangler truck would be more capable than 3/4 of the Jeep lineup out of the gate, break over angles be damned. Commanche it is!
      SpikedLemon
      • 7 Months Ago
      A Ram 1000 would be stupid. It's too close to the current. A Ram 500 would be better. It's further away in numbers. .. Seriously: there's no small pickup in NA. Those that remain (Tacoma/Frontier/...) are the size of full-size trucks from 10-15 years ago. A small city-sized pickup, perhaps based on the Caravan but with a 4-cyl, would do better. Chrysler's already shown they're not afraid of FWD work trucks.
        jtav2002
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SpikedLemon
        While the current midsizers are far from the compact truck that some people want. I think some people think they're a lot bigger than they are. i used to have a 2009 Tacoma access cab and compared to a neighbors mid 1990's Silverado ext cab the Taco was still a good deal smaller. They have a ways to go in size to literally be as big as full size trucks used to be.
          SpikedLemon
          • 7 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          The only aspect of my older Frontier that I found was "smaller" than a traditional full-size is the internal bed width. I could not lay flat a 4'x8' drywall/board into the bed. Towing capacities, payload, height, etc... are on-par with full-size trucks from late 80's early 90's... I guess that's more than 15 years ago now. The point being: it's hard to justify a mid-size over a full-size as the prices are so similar.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SpikedLemon
        The issue is this, full size trucks are so important every component they have is made with the truck in mind, small truck will have to use off the shelf parts. So fuel economy will not be that good again because full size truck uses engine that was probably developed with it in mind. Price probably will not be much cheaper either. Basically full sizer will be too much of a bargain compared to a smaller pick up to pass up.
      CadiVetteFerrari
      • 7 Months Ago
      Definitely would approve of aluminum body in a Jeep. I want to see Jeep and Land Rover make weight savings a priority for fuel economy.
      bootsnchaps60
      • 7 Months Ago
      I had an 89 Ranger long bed, carried anything I wanted and was easy to drive. I've rented Uhaul F250's, way more than I need. The next Canyon/Colorado and foreign Ranger look like full size trucks from the 90's. The full size trucks from everyone are just too big. I don't have a boast or trailer to haul and I don't need four doors as it's just me. I need something with the ultility of my Ranger,or my Pacer(it could haul a LOT), or my Aerostar , or my current 01 Blazer without sacrificing headroom, visibility, capacity and utility. I think midsize trucks "failed " because it was cheaper to just get a decontented full size that was not that much bigger. But maybe Fiat is playing it cautious to see if the trend to "smaller" trucks is a fad or fact.
        Cool Disco Dan
        • 7 Months Ago
        @bootsnchaps60
        I love the space my Spirit has and its even better when I open the hatch. They just don't make utility in anything but extra large.
      Avinash Machado
      • 7 Months Ago
      Build the Jeep Gladiator.
      CGJHfootballdude
      • 7 Months Ago
      I own 4 Jeeps including a 1989 Jeep Comanche pickup. Please FCA, reconsider and build a wrangler pickup!!!! There is a large enough market for it, considering the wrangler is out of the picture. GM is going to capitalize on this opportunity with there new Chevy Colorado. A jeep loyalist like myself would love!! the opportunity to purchase a new Jeep wrangler pickup.
      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 7 Months Ago
      Real headline: Nothing you want in a Ram or Jeep coming to market.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 7 Months Ago
      Why do they insist a light-duty pickup would need to be unibody in order to consolidate? They have a body-on--frame SUV that's just the right size. To me, being able to have a Jeep and a Ram version solves the consolidation issue.
        Carpinions
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        I found this interesting too, as the Honda Ridgeline is unibody. Maybe Marchionne is thinking the small/midsize truck would have to be based off the Durango/GC because it saves R&D and crash testing, and they can bring such a product to market faster?
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