Ask Nathan: Yet More Rumors about the Ram Dakota, Ford Maverick and COVID-19 Car Collectability?

Inspiration for the next Ram Dakota? These drawings came from FCA Drive for Design contest. This concept is from 11th-grader, Alex David Kirschmann with his 3rd-place design.
(Image: FCA)

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. 

Looks kind of like a future Ram Dakota – no? Second place design from Vincent Piaskowski, 11th grade, from Birmingham, Michigan. (Image: FCA)

Q:  I want a new Ram Dakota! I hear they are building it! 

There are lots of rumors back and forth but I hear that they WILL build it on the same platform as the Jeep Gladiator. They are bringing the name back! But they say it will be less pricey and have a conventional suspension setup like the Ram and not the Jeep. 
C’mon Nathan! I know you’re excited about it! What have you heard? 
Blake from Texas 
A Ram 1000 is a rebadged Fiat Toro in other markets. We’ve seen FCA products testing all over the world. They say they will have a midsize truck soon. Maybe it will be the Ram Dakota? 

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

This confirms nothing. This could be FCA simply protecting an old name. Or, it could be something more. If nothing else, it fuels speculation. 

– N

The next question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) who’s curious about the rumors of an upcoming Ford Maverick pickup truck. 

This older, overseas Ford Courier could hint to what Ford has in mind. Rumor has it. (Image: Ford)

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? 

Joe M

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!  

— N

The last question comes from a viewer who wonders if limited production during this COVID-19 crisis could be more valuable in the future. 

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

Q: Just wanted your opinion about cars that stopped production during COVID-19. 

Do you think with their limited runs that they will be worth more money as collectables? 
– Anonymous 

A: Thanks for the message! 

Interesting question. 

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….