In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Did you hear THIS rumor about the Ram Dakota?
- What is the Ford Maverick pickup truck?
- Will COVID-19 cars become collectable?
The first question comes from a fan who desperately wants the Ram Dakota to come back.
Q: I want a new Ram Dakota! I hear they are building it!
A: Hi Blake. Yep, we hear lots of things about the (possible return of the) Ram Dakota.
We have covered whispers and rumors about the return of the Dakota for years. FCA has stated before that they have an interest in re-entering the mid-size truck market. They left in 2011 along with Ford pulling the plug on the Ranger. While Ford has returned with a new Ranger, and is making inroads in this market – silence from FCA.
Still, they do have the Jeep Gladiator. It is technically a midsize pickup truck, but it is anything but inexpensive. Base model Gladiators hover around the low $30,000 mark and you can equip one up to $60,000 with little effort.
Keep in mind: this is a purpose-built off-road vehicle. Even the base model versions are extremely capable off-road and come standard with a robust 4X4 setup. It has a beefier, longer version of the Jeep Wrangler frame. Believe it or not, many say that this platform may underpin FCA’s upcoming midsize pickup truck.
This is a thick, heavy frame which makes the idea of it being repurposed for more economical endeavors head scratching.
The other school of thought still resides with this vehicle being a crossover-based utility pickup. Much like the Honda Ridgeline, there are many (including us) who have seen test models of Fiat Stradas and Toros running around the United States.
One insider mentioned a possible modified Ram platform with smaller dimensions. Lots of talk about the e-Torque four-cylinder turbo too. Currently, this engine is in the Wrangler and it It produces 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s on par with many midsize pickups today. It also is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Finally, there’s this: On April 29th, 2020 – FCA filed a trademark application for the name “Dakota,” related to “parts for vehicles, namely, automotive exterior decorative trim.” That’s according to a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office posting. We got that tidbit from a newly built page dakotaforums.com.
This confirms nothing. This could be FCA simply protecting an old name. Or, it could be something more. If nothing else, it fuels speculation.
The next question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) who’s curious about the rumors of an upcoming Ford Maverick pickup truck.
Q: Any word on this affordable small truck from Ford?
I’m a Ford guy to the bone and I already have a 2019 Ranger. I love it but I paid damn near $40,000 for my Lariat super cab. That’s a lot for a “small” truck. Am I right?
A: Hi Joe!
Thanks for another great question!
There is a lot of speculation about the possibility that the Ford Maverick (if it’s called that) will be a budget-minded pickup. Many feel it shares its platform with the upcoming Ford Bronco Sport (which is based on the Escape’s platform).
We have high hopes that this utility pickup will slot under the Ranger. This could be a vehicle that appeals to budget minded folks who need a light-weight hauler. Vehicles like this are popular overseas.
The idea that it could be a return to small pickups is exciting for quite a few people. Check out the video above and stay tuned!
The last question comes from a viewer who wonders if limited production during this COVID-19 crisis could be more valuable in the future.
Q: Just wanted your opinion about cars that stopped production during COVID-19.
A: Thanks for the message!
I think that, in some cases, the answer could be “yes.” As an example: I don’t think that a 2020 Subaru Outback will be too terribly collectable with its limited production run. According to GoodCarBadCar, they built just over 40,000 Outbacks before shutting down. That’s less than a quarter of last year’s production numbers. Still, 40,000 of a popular consumer product seems unlikely to attain collector’s status.
On the other hand…
The 2020 Chevrolet Stingray shut down production after building only 2,700 units. This could make the 2020 Corvette one of the most collectable given its low production numbers and history. It may take a decade or two, but those paltry numbers could be a big deal for collectors.
We are beginning to see some automakers resume production. Hopefully, they will be able to safely get back to business and limit the losses from the shutdown. Still, it’s an interesting market for some – including collectors.
Speaking of Subaru….