The United Auto Workers union has finally struck a tentative deal with Stellantis after a 44-day strike. As part of its agreement, the automotive conglomerate will reopen its manufacturing plant in Belvidere, Illinois. A new vehicle is coming as a result and as top UAW execs confirmed, it'll be Ram's long-awaited pickup that's smaller than the full-size Ram 1500.
"Midsize" was the word used to describe the truck by UAW Vice President Rich Boyer. Still, it's unclear if it will be a Ford Maverick competitor or something that's more squarely aimed at the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, and Toyota Tacoma. An insider told The Drive in June that Ram would bring its compact Rampage pickup to the United States, which features a unibody construction rather than body on frame, though Mopar Insiders believes it to be a Dakota revival of sorts.
The Belvidere plant last hosted Jeep Cherokee production and isn't currently set up for body-on-frame trucks, which seems telling. There's a good chance it will be built on Stellantis' STLA Large platform that's designed to handle both internal combustion engines and battery-electric powertrains. Since Stellantis is also said to be adding an EV battery facility to Belvidere, there's a possibility the truck will be offered with gas-only and electrified options.
The half-ton Ram 1500 is currently the smallest pickup the brand makes, which feels funny to say since it isn't small by any means. In turn, Stellantis is missing out on market share in multiple segments whether it be the true midsize category or the compact truck space. If Stellantis makes such a truck with an optional hybrid or EV powertrain, that would also help position it well for the future as no midsize truck offers electrification, and only the Maverick does in the compact segment.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, expect more information from Stellantis in due time. This is sure to be a big deal, and truthfully, I'm a little surprised the news came out during the UAW's announcement. The clock is ticking for Ram to reveal its smaller-but-mighty fighter and you can bet you'll find coverage of it here on our site.
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