Jim Press: little trucks could be big
click above for more pics of the 2002 Dodge M80 Concept
Jim Press thinks that there's an emerging market for small, fuel efficient trucks. You know, the kind of trucks his former employer, Toyota, used to build. Press put in 37 years at Toyota, and he saw the evolution of the HiLux into the Tacoma, which is no longer the diminutive hauler it once was. Press owns a second home in Thailand, and observing how trucks are used in that country leads him to believe that there's a worldwide need for a small, versatile pickup. Dodge's Dakota saw its sales drop by one third between 2006 and 2007, and Press thinks that's likely due to buyers shifting to crossovers.
There's not a whole lot of incentive to buy a midsize truck right now – they cost nearly the same as an entry level full sizer, the mileage is only marginally better, and the size differential isn't that great. We can recall two Dodge concept pickups of the recent past that we think buyers who miss the small pickup market might take a liking to. First, there's the 2006 Dodge Rampage Concept, which packed a lot of utility in a small footprint. Then there's the 2002 Dodge M80 Concept, one of the few Chrysler concepts that got a great reception but wasn't produced. Put the M80 into production on a unibody platform with some unique powertrain options, Jim. Trust us, you won't be sorry.
Gallery: 2002 Dodge M80 Concept
Gallery: 2006 Dodge Rampage Concept