By Nat Shirley
Thursday, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 3:47 pm
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed that there will be a new version of the recently discontinued Ram Dakota, though it seems the next-generation truck will have little in common with its forebears.

While the old Dakota boasted a traditional body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive layout, Marchionne said that there is a "better than 50 percent chance" that the new pickup will feature a unibody setup. Previous rumors have held that the Dakota will utilize the same architecture that underpins Chrysler's minivan products, but Marchionne didn't comment on what platform the truck might use.

The Chrysler CEO did state that the Dakota will likely get a diesel option. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is set to get a diesel powerplant (likely a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with around 224 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque) in the U.S. next year, so spreading the cost of the engine over several trucks would be to the company's advantage. Between the oil-burning mill and the lightweight (for a pickup) unibody construction, the new Dakota could be one of the most fuel-efficient pickups on the market.

Marchionne also said that the diesel is likely to make its way from the Jeep Grand Cherokee to the mechanically-related Dodge Durango.

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