Ram’s recently teased Ford Ranger-sized electric ute concept is more than likely heading to production and it will be designed with international and right-hand drive markets in mind, meaning it will more than likely make its way to Australia.
Speaking to the Australian media, Ram CEO Mike Koval Jr confirmed the mid-sized ute concept (which we suspect will be called the Ram Dakota) was well received by Ram dealers in the U.S., and when it goes into production, it will have global potential for the fast-growing American brand.
“I showed a concept to the dealers in Las Vegas last month, which is something that I was looking forward to doing because look, I had 6,000 of my closest friends in the arena, and what a great test case,” said Mr Koval
“So if they gave me a thumbs up, I knew what that meant. If they threw something at me, I also knew what that meant. We got, I would say, more than a thumbs up. So now I’m gonna go back to work and bring this to market.”
The Ram Concept is fully electric and reportedly close to production-ready in terms of its design and scope. The mid-sized electric pickup concept is said to look similar to the wild 1500 Revolution concept that was revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January.
While the concept is pure electric, Mr Koval didn’t rule out an internal combustion version as well, given the American brand’s desire to reach a more global audience and to do so in markets where electric mobility is yet to mature for utes.
“When I got to the brand in 2016, I would say 95 percent of the engineering focus was all North America,” he said.
“That’s changing and every new vehicle starting, you know, with this one (referring to the Ram 1500 REV) and everything beyond that, I will make international in scope. Right. I will make it international or I’ll try to.
“Because I don’t want to limit my opportunities. I think I would be doing myself and the team a disservice if I didn’t consider [right hand drive], I want be able to sell in every market around the world.”
Although the vehicle may be engineered for right-hand drive, when the mid-sized Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux competitor from Ram goes into production, it would be very likely that a right-hand driven conversion will take place in a similar manner as the current Ram products in Australia.
Mr Koval was pretty candid in his pessimism when asked by CarExpert if investing in right-hand drive factory production made sense.
“To be honest with you, probably not, it may not be [worth the investment]. I guess if you were in my shoes, when I think about the brand and I think about growing the brand globally, I want to be able to sell everywhere, right? I mean, that’s just an honest statement. I want to be able to grow the brand like Jeep,” he said.
For the Australian market, Walkinshaw Automotive does the right-hand drive conversions locally in Melbourne and recent comments by Bob Graczyk, head of Ram Trucks International, suggest the Americans are more than happy with the quality of the conversion.
Timing on when the Ram Dakota will head to production is still be to confirmed, but we suspect it will take place in mid to late 2025 at the earliest with Australia to get access to the car after that.
“We’ve been talking about it forever and I have committed to myself, to my team and even publicly that this is the Ram leadership team that is going to execute.”
Ram sold 6149 vehicles in Australia in 2022, up from 4,025 in 2021.