Ram Dakota leaps from fantasy land: Could it be the perfect truck for Belvedere?
Image: KDesign AG/Behance
For example, at the end of February, the third largest US automaker decided to shut down its plant in Belvidere, Illinois, because there was no longer work for Jeep Cherokee makers. This means that 1,200 jobs were at risk! Now, thankfully, the situation may be improving as the auto conglomerate’s new tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers also includes a future for the Belvidere assembly plant.
More precisely, UAW Vice President Rich Boyer announced that a new vehicle — a midsize truck — would be produced there. This is certainly cause for a lot of speculation about what comes next. As for the laid-off workers, first of all, they will receive full benefits when they are returned to their jobs, and Stellantis will expand the workforce as a new battery factory will be established in Belvidere soon. As for the production vehicle, it’s easy to spot the first suspect – Ram’s impressive new Rampage, which is being produced on a unibody platform in Brazil.
After all, the rumor mill claimed it would soon arrive in America putting the likes of Ford’s Maverick and Honda’s Ridgeline at risk of feeling dated and uncool. However, the model, which is produced at a factory located in Pernambuco, Brazil, is technically closer to the best-selling Ford Maverick rather than the Honda Ridgeline. Although it has been tested repeatedly in the United States, this does not mean that it will be the car produced in Belvedere. That’s probably not the only problem — and Stellantis plans to allow Ram to attack the pickup truck segment on all fronts, compact and midsize, at once.
As such, speculation about the return of the Dodge Dakota name under the Ram Trucks banner is growing — and has even reached the fantasy realm of digital automotive content creators. There, Kleber Silva, a virtual artist based in Brazil known as KDesign AG On social media, she decided to make a CGI rendering of a Ram truck that could earn the Dakota moniker without creating too much buzz around it. However, the vision this pixel expert shares may not be so American – he uses the Chinese Kaicheng F70 as a base, which also underpins the little-known Peugeot Landtrek and possibly the upcoming Fiat Titano.
Today’s Ram Trucks design language makes things a lot more bearable – whether in the case of the modern Rebel Edition or one that focuses on getting the job done above all else. However, looking at it from the perspective of the US midsize pickup market, where the Toyota Tacoma dominates the trends, this thing has no chance of survival because it simply looks too “cheap.” Furthermore, the competition is stiff – Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado plus GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger plus Ranger Raptor, Honda Ridgeline, as well as the off-road-focused Jeep Gladiator.
As such, our view on the matter is that you should refrain from betting any money on Stellantis bringing a Chinese version to the US market. Instead, it would be great to see the Rampage land in North America to compete with the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, followed by a midsize pickup truck that combines the Rampage and the 1500 series into one powerful midsize truck, right?
(Tags for translation)Ram Dakota