RAM sees a Dakota-sized hole in their lineup and FCA CEO Mike Manley says he wants that hole filled fast. Part of the issue is that Ram currently does not have a platform to use for a mid-size pickup. The Jeep Gladiator, while considered a mid-size, has a different mission in life. It is positioned, and priced, as a premium product with an MSRP starting over $33,000 where competitors like the Ranger and Colorado start in the mid-$20k range.
Furthermore, the new product will not be built on the Gladiator platform, further increasing costs and development time. The current estimate is that the Dakota, if that's what it is called, will be introduced in the 2022 time frame. That puts RAM rather late to market as Ford has recently released the Ranger, and a new Nissan Frontier is on the way, and even Mitsubishi is working on a truck.
In the meantime, RAM plans to keep building the RAM 1500 classic for an extended period of time alongside the new 2020 RAM 1500 model. Fleet and commercial customers like the lower price of the RAM Classic and sales have remained brisk.