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Ram confirms HiLux rival and Raptor-fighting Rebel TRX

Ram has just confirmed plans to put the Rebel TRX (yep, the T-Rex) into production.

American brand Ram will soon enter our hotly contested light-commercial ute market, with the company confirming plans for an all-new mid-size pick-up due in 2022.

While any expansion beyond the existing ASV remanufacturing operation is yet to be confirmed, company executives here and in the USA have made no secret of their desire to launch factory-developed right-hand drive trucks in Oz.

There’s much bigger business to be had with a smaller ute in Australia, where the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger dominate market sales. And executives could be about to get their wish, with the new mid-size pick-up (described in official documents as a “metric tonne” vehicle) to be launched as a true global vehicle. 

Speaking at the company’s investor day in Italy, FCA chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne vowed the new mid-size pickup, due in 2022, would be “for every global market”.

“It will go well beyond what we sell in the States,” he said. “I think we need to take a look at this in real terms - I think the majority of that volume will be non-USA sales.”

And there’s more to get truck fans excited, too. In this era of green hybrids and electrification, it’s nice to know there are still some dinosaurs lumbering about. And none more so than Ram, which has just confirmed plans to put the Rebel TRX (yep, the T-Rex) into production, where it will do bat-tle with the Ford F150 Raptor.

Ram thinks it’s about time the Raptor had some serious competition. Ram thinks it’s about time the Raptor had some serious competition.

The Jurassic Park references were coming thick and fast as the company unveiled its five-year plan, including playing the final scene in which Spielberg’s classic where a tyrannosaurus munches on a velociraptor.

As far as hints go, it was as subtle as a dynamite-wrapped sledgehammer: Ram thinks Ford has had the Raptor market to itself for too long, and so it’s unleashing the big guns.

“It’s been allowed to play in this part of segment all by itself. That doesn’t seem right, does it?” Asked Ram boss Mike Manley.

“You may remember Ram showed a concept truck back in 2016. It was called the TRX. It was a clearly targeted concept vehicle focusing on power, torque, technology and style.

“As Ram, we think it’s time for the Raptor to have some serious competition, so as part of the next five-year plan, the TRX will no longer stay as a concept. It will go into full production.”

So, how serious? Time will tell. The concept car - unveiled at the State Fair of Texas in 2016 - packed a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 good for 429kW, but rumours abound over the Ram also offering the TRX with the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s stonking 522kW/868Nm Hellcat V8.

How much of the concept will make the finished product, for which a launch date is yet to be announced, remains to be seen (including the racing harnesses, suspension borrowed from desert racing and side-mounted exhausts. But then, given FCA somehow green-lit a Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee, we wouldn’t be surprised if it all made it through to production.

Would a HiLux/Ranger competitor from RAM be on your ute shopping list? Tell us in the comments below.

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