Chrysler confirms next-generation Dodge Dakota midsized pickup

Article by Anita Panait, on January 12, 2012

Chrysler will revive its out-of-production Dodge Dakota midsized pickup, according to Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.  Speaking at Detroit Auto Show, Marchionne said that there is a "better than 50-percent chance" that the new Dakota will have a carlike unibody architecture rather than a traditional body-on-frame frame, adding a diesel variant will also be made available.

He also confirmed that the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel will soon roll out. The Chrysler CEO said once the company completed the development of the diesel Grand, it will maximize costs by extending the technology to other Jeep models, particularly the Wrangler. Chrysler’s move to revive the Dakota is seen as a response to General Motors’ decision to return to the U.S. mid-sized pickup market with the Colorado in 2013.

GM’s second-generation body-on-frame Colorado was developed to cater to Asia and Latin American markets, fitted with only diesel engines.  GM will produce the U.S.- spec Colorado at its Wentzville, Missouri assembly plant. With two of the Detroit Big Three committing to a midsize pickup, Ford remains silent on its possible plans. Ford ended production of its Ranger midsized pickup at the end of 2011.

Dodge trucks are not only known for power and capability, they also represent bold confidence.

The 2008 Dodge Dakota personifies that boldness with a restyled body featuring an updated front part with improved fit and gap management for enhanced aerodynamics. The bonnet, grille, front fascia, headlamps, fenders and rear spoilers have all been modernised. The bonnet has been particularly styled to convey power and emphasise the trademark Dodge ‘drop-fender’ look. These design updates give the 2008 Dakota a facial appearance that underlines its association with all the other truck lines in the Dodge stable.

Dakota has modern-looking, rectangular headlamps similar to the Dodge Nitro’s. This shape maximises the surface area to improve forward lighting. Its reflectors have been set deep behind each lens to lend an imposing appearance.

The redesigned grille with integrated fog lamps combines more cohesively with the updated fasciae. In addition, the tailgate features a new spoiler that enhances air flow over the rear, thereby improving fuel efficiency, while the cargo box has a new protective top surface.

Ralph Gilles, Vice President - Jeep/Truck and Color Trim Studios, and Specialty Vehicles, Chrysler Group Design, remarked that the market knows the Dodge truck DNA well, and that their trucks are styled to stand without compromising capability. He added that the 2008 Dodge Dakota’s renewed design expresses the brand’s DNA as a truck that is “both a sporty lifestyle vehicle and a work truck."

As with previous generation, two body styles will be available for the 2008 Dodge Dakota: Extended Cab and Crew Cab. Both will come in six trim levels: ST, SXT, SLT, TRX4, Sport and Laramie.

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