Ram could be the next automaker to jump back on the compact pickup truck bandwagon.Fiat Chrysler hasn't offered a small pickup truck in the United States since the Dakota went out of production in 2011, but the company's Head of Design hinted at the Chicago auto show that one could soon return to the automaker's lineup.Fiat Chrysler global design chief Ralph Gilles opened the 2017 Chicago auto show with a presentation that largely focused on the future of the automobile, including autonomous and connected technologies. However, Gilles also touched on the future of FCA's global brands, with a strong indication that Ram would soon be jumping back into the compact pickup truck segment.
One of Gilles' slides featured the Fiat Toro, which is a small pickup truck currently offered in the South American market. The 47-year-old executive suggested that such an offering would be a logical fit for the Ram brand in the U.S., but stopped short of confirming the Toro was bound for our shores.
The Toro would make sense for Ram given the recent surge in small pickup truck market. General Motors has seen stronger than expected demand for its reborn compact truck twins, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. In fact, sales have been so strong for the Colorado and Canyon that Ford recently announced that it would be reviving its Ranger compact pickup in the U.S.
However, it should be noted that the Fiat Toro is a front-wheel drive based, unibody pickup truck. That would put it more on par with the Honda Ridgeline. That actually fits with previous reports of a Dakota revival, which billed the pickup as more of a lifestyle vehicle rather than a rough-and-rugged truck.
Fiat Toros have been seen roaming the streets of Michigan as far back as May of 2016, so it's possible that we could see a Ram-badged version of the pickup in the not-too-distant future.
[Update: According to a Ram spokesperson, there are no plans to bring the current version of the Fiat Toro to the United States. However, we still believe that a smaller Ram truck model could be in the works. Previous rumors have suggested that it could ride on the same front-wheel drive unibody architecture that underpins the Pacifica minivan.]