Ram more cautious on electric pickups

It seems like every man and his dog is launching a battery-electric pickup these days, but one of the big names in the business isn’t so gung-ho.

Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, whose Ram unit sold over 630,000 pickup trucks in the U.S. in 2019, said in a conference call with analysts last week that Ram was taking a wait-and-see approach with the market in terms of electric pickups but is ready should sales levels deteriorate.

“The reason we haven’t spoken much about electric pickup trucks is not because we view that market as nonexistent,” he said on the call, according to The Detroit News. “But we’ve always had a slightly different view of timing and adoption rates, particularly in North America in terms of full electrification.”

According to Manley, FCA is more focused on adding electrification to its Jeep brand which is sold globally, as opposed to Ram which predominantly operates in North America. The automaker has already announced plug-in hybrid versions of the Compass, Renegade and Wrangler, the first of which are due in showrooms later this year. We’ll also likely see a plug-in hybrid powertrain offered in the next-generation Grand Cherokee due next year.

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The automaker is also developing EVs. A redesigned Fiat 500 with battery-electric power has just been launched overseas, and Maserati will launch its first EV next year when it redesigns the GranTurismo.

FCA is also in the process of a merger with PSA Group to form the new auto giant Stellantis. PSA Group already has a modular platform capable of spawning EVs in the subcompact and compact segments, and it’s just announced a new modular platform that can spawn EVs in the small and mid-size segment. FCA could potentially access these platforms for its own EVs once the merger is complete.

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