Raptor-rivalling TRX model given green light

Laying its five-year product plan out at an investors' meeting in Balocco, Italy, Fiat Chrysler has confirmed with will launch a smaller D-segment ute by 2022.

According to Automotive News, the "mid-size" Ram ute will also be sold with Fiat badges, meaning it will be a true global competitor to the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Chevrolet/Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max, and others.

Should this vehicle be engineered for right-hand drive and sold in Australia, it's unclear which brand the vehicle will be sold under. The slide deck for today's presentation slide shows Australia as being covered by both the Ram and Fiat Professional brands.

Currently American-market Ram pickup trucks are imported and converted in Australia to right-hand drive by Ateco, while Fiat Professional is an in-house operation selling its factory-made right-hook versions of the Doblo and Ducato vans.

This new ute model will be built in Mexico, and will likely replace the Fiat Fullback, which is sold in select markets throughout world, but is just a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Triton.

It's not known what the new ute will be called, although many are speculating it could revive the Dakota name. The Dakota was sold under the Dodge brand through three generations from 1986 to 2011.

Above: 2016 Ram Rebel TRX concept. Top: 2009 Dodge Dakota.

In an effort to lift the average transaction price of its full-size pickup truck, Ram plans to have a TRX high-performance on- and off-road model take on the profit-laden Ford F-150 Raptor.

Elsewhere within the company's commercial vehicle portfolio, Fiat Chrysler has confirmed it will have a new version of the Ram ProMaster City/Fiat Doblo available by 2022.

Interestingly, the larger Ram ProMaster/Fiat Ducato will soldier until 2022 without, it seems, even a facelift.

Unlike the plans announced overnight for the Jeep brand, Ram and Fiat Professional brands will largely miss out on the company's electrification efforts, as only the Ram 1500 is set gain a hybrid drivetrain.

Similarly, while most models in the Jeep range will be available with Level Three self-driving capability, Fiat Chrysler's vans and utes will only be fitted with, at most, Level Two assisted driving systems.