Chrysler Boosts Ram 1500 Diesel Production – Good News for Tundra Diesel Fans?

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Chrysler announced it will double production of its Ram diesel offerings to 20 percent of its mix. While Toyota Tundra fans may not see this as a big deal, they should. Here’s why.

Chrysler Boosts Ram 1500 Diesel Production - Good News for Tundra Diesel Fans?

Chrysler announced it will boost Ram 1500 diesel production to meet demand. This success should drive Toyota to get on board with diesel.

First the news. Ram says it can’t meet current demand and it must increase production. Everyone saw this coming when back a few months ago, the initial supply was allocated in just three days.

Ram also says nearly 60 percent of its Ram EcoDiesel sales have been conquest sales. This is a BIG deal. Conquest sales are those where someone switches brands. With brand loyalty being a HUGE factor in truck sales, converting a customer to your brand can mean millions of dollars.

What about Toyota? Simple, they have long said the “business case” for a diesel just isn’t there. Well with Ram’s recent success, this changes the business case quite a bit. No longer can Toyota claim customers won’t pay the additional costs. And no longer can they use the return on investment argument.

The reality is the majority of Ram’s EcoDiesel sales are for crew cab models with higher trim levels. In other words, the majority of EcoDiesel sales are for far more expensive pickups with more profit than the base level.

Since the Ram EcoDiesel’s introduction, we have been saying Toyota and others will follow the market trends. Whether you like Ram or not, the fact is the trend for half-ton diesels is incredibly hot and full of profit.

While completely circumstantial on our part, it is interesting to consider Toyota’s recent moves to increase Tacoma production in Mexico and also scout out new plant locations as possible signs they will do something sooner rather than later.

While Toyota is notorious for moving slow, we know they have a diesel at their proving grounds. They had better get busy bringing that diesel to the market before the market goes cold.

What do you think? Will Ram’s success force Toyota to respond?


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  1. ALVARO says:

    Toyota actually has a proven Diesel, the 4.5 V8 265 HP in the 70 & 200 series Landcruiser overseas since 2007. Why not use this engine instead of a Cummins?
    They also own Hino Trucks with dozens of reliable HD Diesels, what are they waiting for?

    • Larry says:

      I too would like to see the Toyota diesels here. It’s also to bad that not one manufacture is using the 4.0L in-line Cummins 4 cylinder. Plenty of power and durable. My Cummins 5.9 6 has twice the power I need and Ram has moved up to 6.7 with 800 foot pounds. That’s crazy.

      I would take a small diesel over a 3.0 or the next 2.7 eco boost any day. Just have live with a lower revving motor and the loss of acceleration. But, these are trucks not race cars and the slow diesel will live longer them most people.

      There isn’t a tundra of the road which can come close to the MPG of 5.9 Cummins with a 6 speed manual trans.

      The rest of the world lives with diesel, time to get with the program.

  2. breathing borla says:

    I think they should figure out their trailer brake controller change first.

    and what happened to the larger tank?

    as far as the diesel, you said it, toyota moves slow. I would be shocked if they have anything within the next 3 years.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Hey Borla,

      I’ve asked both questions. The trailer brake controller is delayed due to production issues. IMHO – Toyota hasn’t figured this one out yet.

      The larger tank option was scrapped for whatever reason. Auto show season is coming soon – LA, Detroit, Chicago, NYC. I plan on asking some pointed questions.


      • LJC says:

        Here’s another question: what improvements or new features have been added to the Tundra since Sweers became chief engineer?

        If Sweers can advance his career with persistence, then where in the hell is his persistence with advancing the Tundra?

        The features current owners are asking for is existing technology.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:


          Valid points. I think he needs to do more especially in light of what the competition is doing.


          • LJC says:

            Now, to be fair, we don’t know what happened back in 2010. For Sweers to become chief engineer the position was vacated. Why it was vacated we don’t know; perhaps it was due to the Tundra no longer getting the support it needs from upper management. There might be something to my conjecture since out of the five truck players, the Tundra, which lead the pack from 2007 to about 2012 or so, is now falling behind. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very capable truck and I am pleased with it and Toyota. But the truck scene is getting more competitive than ever.

            Just my 2%.

        • mendonsy says:

          It seems like the parade of features being removed from the Tundra has increased since Speers took over with nothing to replace them.

          The gas tank is more likely to be a political than a technical problem. This isn’t really a good time to be advertising that a bigger gas tank is required.

          • samendolaro says:

            Agreed. I think a bigger tank is great but using it as a solution for low MPG is not goods PR. It would serve them much better to increase the tank size as standard when they increase their MPG, or increase their MPG to a point where the bigger tank isn’t necessary.
            You have to admit that it is pretty funny that the people who brought us the Hybrid and the Hydrogen fuel vehicles can’t get Remote start or a trailer break controller to work. Honestly I don’t think it is a can’t as much as its a won’t.

  3. Hemi lol says:

    I for one surely hope so…… In a meeting i was asked to be in with the Pres. of TMS USA Mr Ohara i made the case with him that we were missing the boat. Many people in the midwest that own a 3/4 or 1 Ton Diesel also have a camry or some sort of Toyota in the driveway. Its not that they dont like Toyota its that we dont offer a product for them…. Lots of folks want a diesel for towing without the loss of economy, NOTHING does that better than a diesel engine, period. I personally believe that a more powerful (like the ISV 5.0 Cummins) with 20ish mpgs is MUCH more desirable than the lackluster paltry 240 hp Fiat mill in the Ram. I was then asked what i thought of a diesel in the Tacoma………….. to which i replied i believe would be a homerun and i was asked what i thought the take rate would be……… LOL how the heck would i know…. but i guessed i could see 25% on a Tacoma diesel with 30 mpg and 6-7k towing capacity…… I have prayed since that day that those people from Toyota heard me,and of course hope they agreed…… Only time will tell.

  4. Randy says:

    I agree the Ram’s EcoDiesel success means it could very well assure the Tundra gets the Cummins V8 diesel. Pushing Tundra once again to be the most capable half ton made.

    For me it is over kill – I hardly tow anymore, but there are lot guys that tow a lot and a diesel in the Tundra would be a major plus and I think it would sell very well.

  5. LJC says:

    What were the conquest sales for the Tundra back on 07 and 08?

    Yes, RAM’s success will force Toyota to respond, but Nissan even more. With a reputable diesel option for both its mid-sized and full size truck, they’ll have conquest sales as well, as long as the diesel is reasonably priced.

  6. Rick says:

    I think Toyota missed a huge amount of sales and permanent customers by eschewing a diesel truck.

    The market clearly wants a diesel but not necessarily 6cyl. A V8 or even a Cummins 6 will be more than enough power. Makes me wonder if Toyota execs are out of touch with this market.

    They’d better hurry. If the price of gas comes down, frugally-minded buyers such as Ram diesel buyers, whom I believe bought because they just wanted better MPG – not necessarily for power, will dry up.

    In the gas crunch leading up to and through the Iraq war, I saw many pick up owners trading in for economy cars ro small trucks. Now that an alternative exists in the Ram diesel, Toyota lost all those buyers who were trading in and maybe many more as those buyers continue to react to their own perception that gas won’t come down soon.

    GM and Ford already have a small V8 diesel on the shelf. Those motors were permanently canned as gas prices dropped. Bringing those diesels to market would pose a problem of cannibalizing sales from their 3/4 and one ton diesels.

    Toyota would have this motor in their hugely capable Tundra as it is. That’s an advantage there. A strong diesel in a lighter Tundra application weighing much less that the 6800+ plus lbs of a current GM or Ford and would easily eclipse the MPG of both those makes by 5 mpg and be very competitive with the Ram and its comparatively weak european diesel. The Tundra would have 25 mpg with an 8spd and I believe would own that segment.

    Hurry up!

    • T says:

      There may be more than one reason why Toyota is leaving California…maybe getting in-touch with reality is one of them. I hope they stop working with Calty Designs and start working with someone else and make the Tundra what it should be without waiting on the competition to do it first.

      • LJC says:

        Yeah, they should work with me and my 11 year old son–who knows more about trucks that most of the population–as we both share a passion for the Tundra, Tacoma, Land Cruiser, and Subaru.

        • breathing borla says:


          when you get that job get some storage in this truck 🙂

          also get that monster 13 city MPG off the sticker, needs to be at least 15/20.

          and use some LEDs everywhere

          put the content back in the limited model that they striped everything out of.


          • LJC says:

            Quick hit list:
            * More storage in the doors as they’re easy to access and under rear seat
            * TRD Pro gets an ARB selectable locker in the rear; comes with a strong enough air compressor to air up tires; option front ARB locker
            * ARB locker package an option for other Tundra models
            * Drive train warranty bumped up to an industry leading 8 yr /150K warranty
            * Marketing on par with what they had back in 07/08
            * Tacoma to get a 4 cyl diesel Hino option
            * Tundra gets 6 cyl Hino Diesel option
            * Both engines get an Eco option button: detunes engine for improved fuel economy
            * Both Tacoma and Tundra get a 8 speed auto
            * Tundra GVW bumped up to 7700
            * Integrated trailer brake controlled; form partnership with Tekonsha
            * Testing (real torture, real pain): find abandoned air field, hook up 15K trailer, floor it for a mile, brake as hard a possible; repeat till something breaks; fix it and make it stronger; repeat
            * After the real pain testing, challenge Ford Ecoboost to a death match; J2807 standards
            100 degree weather; compete till a truck dies.

            That’s off the cuff.

          • T says:

            I have to say LJC’s list is pretty good. Only one thing on that list I thought of was being able to detune/tune the motor across both diesel and gas for Towing, city mpg, highway mpg and performance mode.

            Tim! Pass on the list and if Toyota bites have them pass on proceeds to LJC…or a free truck.

          • Tim Esterdahl says:

            LOL. Will do!


  7. GoBIg says:

    I owned a diesel truck in the early 80s. It was great for mileage, and in those days diesel was cheaper than gas.

    Now the dynamic has flipped, and diesel is more expensive. I don’t tow heavy loads. I only tow a small boat or a couple of snowmobiles.

    For me, the price point may be the deal breaker on a diesel. I would have to see how much more they cost for what benefit I might gain.

    • Larry says:

      It’s going to cost more for diesel for sure. After 2007 diesel got killed her in the US. UREA injection systems to deal with NO2 emissions, then the canister filter to trap soot and burn it off by injecting diesel during the regeneration cycle. I would’ t own any of that stuff. I purchased a 2006 diesel because it was free of that stuff. After installing free hubs up front and now having all the front U joints/axels/differentials/shafts no longer in motion, on the highway at constant speed of 65 in 6th gear and making no stops I have gotten as high as 25 MPG with a 7000 pound truck. Everyday driving I see 19. How can you beat that? That will never be seen on the modern monster diesels.

      In the US market it’s gas only for the 1/2 ton from now on. While I think the Ford turbo gas V6 is stupid, the market is going to eat it up.

      Diesel is just not going to cut it in the US market with the up front engine cost and .50 higher fuel cost. Don’t forget a set of injectors will cost 2500 bucks Bosch fuel pump another 2000 and they do go out with the high pressures needed to get a clean burn.

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