Stellantis is reportedly forging ahead with the development of a rival to the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger bakkies, despite reports last month alluding to the project being axed before reaching the testing phase.
According to carscoops.com, citing a report from Automotive News, the pickup, intended to revive the Dakota name last used in 2011, will become a reality in spite of a report by the GM Authority online forum claiming otherwise.
Like the previous Dakota, sold under the Dodge banner between 1986 and 2008 before becoming part of the Ram division in 2009 until its demise two years later, the newcomer will be positioned below the full-size Ram 1500 and reportedly based on the same platform as the Jeep Gladiator. Mentioned engines include the venerable 3.6 Pentastar V6 petrol and the 3.0 EcoDiesel V6 with rear-wheel drive being standard and four-wheel drive optional.
Unlike the Gladiator though, which was spun-off from the Wrangler, the Dakota is poised to offer a more traditional bakkie alternative to the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and potentially global models such as the Hilux and Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara and Mazda BT-50.
Not expected to infringe on the Gladiator’s sales though, which improved by 94% to 77 542 last year, placing it fourth behind the Tacoma (238 806), Ranger (101 486) and Colorado (96 555), the Dakota is also expected to be positioned below it on price, meaning a starting sticker below the Jeep’s $33 565 (R500 000).
Despite Stellantis remaining otherwise tight-lipped about the Dakota, it remains to be seen whether the marque would deem it viable for right-hand drive markets, given the full-size Ram’s predominantly American market and therefore left-hand drive focus.