More Signals That Ram Will Bring Out 1500 Diesel

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Since 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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


RSSComments (8)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Mickey says:

    You have to give Dodge kudo’s for making the first step.

  2. mk says:

    sorry, gotta see it first to believe it. A lot could happen between now and 2013, especially for Chrysler who’s sales are not the best right now. I think a V6 diesel makes a lot of sense if can achieve repectful hp/torque while maintaing at least 25 mpg hwy and hopefully only costing 2-3 grand more unlike today’s big V8 diesels costing 5-6K or more, I’d consider it.

  3. AD says:

    What happened to the 5.0 cummins?

  4. Cephus says:

    That would be awesome! Maybe that will force toota to spend a little extra to bring some of the great diesels they sell around the world in the Tundra and Tacoma. I especially like the 3.0L 4 cylinder turbo disesel in the Hilux, that would do wonders in a Tacoma or base Tundra.

  5. Jason (Admin) says:

    Mickey – Agreed – they’re sticking it out, and I think Marchionne deserves the credit for the bold thinking.

    mk – I hear you, and I agree that this is still very much speculation. If they can build a diesel that gets 25 mpg highway, I bet they sell them even at a $5k premium…the diesel will be a better puller/hauler in addition to being more fuel efficient, and I think it will pull some people out of HD trucks. But you’re 100% correct that $2k-$3k is the magic number.

    AD – Not sure. Cummins reps have said the engine isn’t dead, so that could be Ram’s first light-duty diesel.

    Cephus – I hear that!! If Toyota offered a diesel Tacoma and Tundra, I’d be giggling happy.

  6. TC says:

    I don t understand what is taking so long for the major truck makers to go diesel on the 1/2 tons. GM, Ford, Dodge, and Toyota are all missing out on a huge market potential for these trucks. The pend up demand for 1/2 ton diesels is being totally ignored. The strange thing is that all 4 mentioned manufacturers have diesel engines already developed for the 1/2 series, but refuse to put them into production.

  7. Jason (Admin) says:

    TC – I hear you loud and clear – I think that a 1/2 ton diesel would be a strong seller…especially for the first company that brings it out.

  8. […] haven't seen anything on that. Here's another source: More Signals That Ram Will Bring Out 1500 Diesel | Tundra Headquarters __________________ MIDNIGHT RIDER THE NEW HEARTBEAT OF AMERICA AFTER GAS PEDAL […]

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×