If a new Ram Dakota is on your shopping list, you’d better act fast. Chrysler will end production on the compact pickup on August 23, sending 39 temporary employees packing along with it. However this may only be the beginning, as that number is expected to rise to more than 150 when all is said and done.
“We’re working through the numbers and will not have details until next week,” said Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson in an interview with The Detroit News.
Chrysler’s employees who would be laid off at the truck assembling facility in Warren, MI would be dispersed to other facilities. The Dakota has been built in Warren since 1987, along with the RAM 1500, which began production there in 1993.
Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne said a car-based “lifestyle” vehicle will replace the Dakota in the RAM brand, but no decision had been made yet on where to build it. The removal of the Dakota from the RAM lineup doesn’t come as a surprise to many considering the recent dramatic drop-off in sales. Just over a decade ago Chrysler sold over 177,000 Dakotas but that number dwindled to around 13,000 last year.
“There was a time there when [the Dakota] was bringing in buyers that would have not bought a Ram,” said Jim Hall, product analyst of 2953 Analytics LLP in an interview with The Detroit News. “The tooling was paid off, but the volumes got sub-critical.”
The compact truck segment is a niche market accounting for less than five percent of total industry sales. Chrysler isn’t the only one lowering the axe on its small truck with Ford Motor Company following suit. The Ranger, Ford’s entry into the compact truck market, will discontinue production at the end of this year.
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Source: The Detroit News