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Ram explains that building a mid-size truck is too costly for the time being.

Putting an end to a long-standing rumor, Chrysler's Ram division has confirmed that it will not take on the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon with a mid-size pickup truck.

Speaking in an interview with trade journal Automotive News, Ram CEO Bob Hegbloom explained that a midsize pickup needs to be less capable than a full-size truck, considerably smaller, less expensive and it needs to offer incredible fuel economy. The executive said that Ram can easily meet the first three criteria but incredible fuel economy is much harder to achieve today than it was in the 1980s, when midsize pickups were at the height of their popularity.

According to Hegbloom, a successor to the Dodge Dakota (pictured) would need to return at least 35 mpg on the highway because the full-size Ram 1500 is rated at 29 mpg when it is ordered with the optional 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine. Building a small truck that returns at least 35 mpg is technically possible - notably by fitting it with a small turbodiesel four-cylinder engine - but the technology would inevitably make the truck as expensive as a full-size model, eliminating one of Hegbloom's four key factors.

Hegbloom pointed out that none of the mid-size trucks offered by Ram's competitors check all four boxes. The Canyon/Colorado twins return up to 27 mpg on the highway, and the aging Nissan Frontier is rated at 23 mpg on the highway in its most efficient configuration.