More Signals That Ram Will Bring Out 1500 Diesel
Since TundraHeadquarters.com was founded way back in March 2007, we’ve been pining for a diesel Tundra. Anyone who has driven one of the big diesel trucks from Ford, GM, or Chrysler-Fiat will testify to the power, performance, and efficiency of the modern turbo-diesel. I’ll go a step further and say that – disregarding cost – a diesel is the best pickup truck engine option for a hauling or towing.
The trouble is, I have to qualify my statement by saying “disregarding cost,” and that just doesn’t reflect reality. Despite their performance benefits, no automaker has offered a diesel engine in a light-duty truck in recent memory. The general reason is cost, or more specifically, emissions. US vehicle emissions rules are strict, which means US diesel engines need a lot of emissions controls, which means they’re expensive….which means the rest of world enjoys torquey little high-mileage diesels while we don’t.
However, recent comments from Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne – combined with some interesting rumors about a Ram 1500 diesel we reported back in December 2010 – indicate that Ram might be the first company to offer a diesel in a light-duty pickup.
If A Diesel Grand Cherokee Makes Sense, A Ram Is A No-Brainer
Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne recently confirmed that Jeep will be producing a diesel version of the Grand Cherokee in 2013. The diesel used will be a 3.0L V6 similar to an existing European diesel that produces 237 horsepower and 407 lb-ft of torque. Assuming the numbers for the US-spec version are similar, that’s definitely enough power for a Ram 1500 diesel. After all, the 1994 Ram HD had a Cummins 12-valve that was only rated at 175 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, and that truck was (and is) a solid performer.
In terms of economics and consumer demand, the diesel cost-benefit analysis for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 are very similar:
- Diesel engines are 20-30% more efficient than comparable gasoline motors, so a diesel Grand Cherokee could get as much as 30 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in the city. A diesel Ram 1500? Maybe 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
- Since a diesel has better low-end torque than a gasoline engine, the Grand Cherokee will do better off-road while a Ram 1500 would be a better hauler. Consumers in this segment will pay for improved performance.
- Assuming both vehicles share the same engine, the development costs of the engine could be shared across two US vehicles instead of just one. This helps reduce the cost of the diesel engine option on both vehicles.
- US and European diesel emissions rules are converging, which means that future development costs could be shared across continents…and that means the up-front cost is reduced even more.
- Demand and resale value for both a Diesel Grand Cherokee and a Diesel Ram 1500 should be strong – at least at first – because they would be the only diesels in their class.
While a light-duty diesel isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, it could be a strong seller if gas prices continue to increase. For that reasons – and the reasons listed above – it seems logical someone will build a light-duty pickup truck in the near future.
So far, it seems like that someone will be Ram.
Filed Under: Auto News