Diesel-Powered Ram 1500 Hinges on Demand Says Chrysler CEO

Diesel-Powered Ram 1500 Hinges on Demand Says Chrysler CEO

At the recent North American International Auto Show, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, during a round table discussion, said that the tools to bring a light duty Ram diesel pickup to market are there, it’s just a question if there’s enough demand for it.

“We can do it all,” he said. “We have the engines, the know-how, because as you well know, Fiat is the repository of a huge amount of diesel know-how because of our industrial applications and even on the passenger car side. We’d love to do it, but the question is, will it sell?”

Marchionne also referred to the fact that several Chrysler vehicles, including the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee have long been offered with diesel engines in Europe, but in North America, the reception at best has been lukewarm, previous attempts to offer diesels in Jeep SUVs proving shortlived.

We’ve reported before that Cummins, which builds the straight-six turbo diesel available in the Ram Heavy Duty has developed a V8 diesel for use in 1/2 ton trucks and a version of this could be adapted for the Ram 1500, no doubt enhancing the truck’s towing and payload capability, but again, it all hinges on demand.

Given that light trucks now come under the same CAFE umbrella as passenger cars, it will probably be legislation that eventually drives demand for light duty diesel pickups. In Europe, largely due to taxation reasons, diesels are now the norm in passenger cars, their combination of torque output and fuel efficiency hard to beat. This contrasts with a generation ago, when they still represented less than half the market.

It’ll also be interesting to see if Ford and GM further pursue diesels for their light-duty pickups, previous plans have so far been put on hold.

[Source: Pickup trucks.com]

  • David

    Porsche didn’t go diesel because there was no demand it’s the best of there cayenne’s,as is the V8 Range Rover diesel. Diesel is part way to being a responsable motorist ! you won’t have to hug a tree, every american should have one.

  • scott

    OK so where do I sign up at????

  • curtis

    Im pretty sure that this would be a big time seller. i will be buying one if they come out on the market. they would be a big hit with a 6 speed in them i think. lets do this Chrysler.

  • Kendall

    One way or another, I’ll be getting one some day. A full size truck doing 25 mph (my guess), can’t be beat and then yet just the feel of a diesel.. love it!

  • Robert OLeary

    Diesel is the way to go. I can’t figure out why they won’t build us these trucks.
    I’ve started an online petition:


    The goal of this petition is to make the major automotive manufacturers here in North America aware that there is a huge demand for a light-duty diesel pickup truck.
    I believe that I speak for the majority of light truck owners when I say that whatever company makes the first half-ton pickup for sale in North America with a clean DIESEL option will become the absolute leader in new light-truck sales.
    The “big three” already have new diesel engines designed & tested for their respective light-duty pickup trucks.
    Ford – 4.4L twin turbo 60-Degree V-8, 310 hp and 516 lb-ft
    Chevrolet – 4.5L turbo LMK Duramax 72-degree V-8, 310 hp and 520 lb-ft
    Chrysler – 5.0L turbo Cummins 90-degree V-8, 320 hp and 500 lb-ft
    All of these engines have been mated up to 6-speed automatic transmissions and can expect to get close to 30mpg or 8litres/100km
    If you are fed up with driving inefficient pickup trucks and would like to have more power, more torque and at least 25% better fuel efficiency, please sign this petition and let us send a message to the major automotive manufacturers to kindly build us a light-duty diesel truck here in North America.

  • Andre

    I like the petition. Would love to know where else to sign up or let the manufacturer know that ‘Yes, I want a half ton diesel’ The demand is there, but there is no option available for us. As mentioned earlier diesel car in EU is a norm. some trucks, such toyota hilux (US tacoma)is only available with 2 motors, both diesel. BMW offers more diesel motors then gas. America is the only one that is stuck on gas guzzlers. I don’t get it. I think soon as they put it out it will catch on like wild fire. I think nissan frontier was first to put out main stream 4 door truck. Now there is almost no extra cabs. Almost all 4 doors. I think same would happen with mid size/half ton diesel. I think the car manufacturers are scared to put it out. They want someone else to do it and see what happens.

  • Glen S.

    I sure hope that Dodge finally offers a half ton deisel soon. I wish they would have choosen an in line 6cyl but what I read they choose a V8.

  • Arlin

    Dodge should have put a diesel in the Dakota with an off road package. That would have been a home run hit.

  • George

    If VW gets 19/28 mpg from the Tuareg 3.0 V6 TDI with 8 speed automatic, it would be complicated to get 29-30 with less aerodinamic design, much bigger diesels and only 6 speeds.
    IMO, a light duty truck would do fine with around 3.5 V6 diesel with around 250 hp and 450 lb-ft. In the end, an 4.5 V8 diesel won’t be a big improvement over the 3.5 V6 turbo-gas, in terms of consumption.
    Towing and payload is limited by the chassis design anyways.

  • John

    1/2 ton diesel, HELLO!!, how could this not sell? I have ditched the idea of the 3/4 ton diesel because of #1 fuel economy and #2 need. I would love to have one but no way in hell at 75 cents more per gallon, just not going to pay off. Now a 1/2 ton at around 30 mpg? Ill be your first buyer! Come on, someone do this.

  • Ronwurtz

    A 1500 diesel is a great idea, would it sell is the question??? YES……
    I sell Dodge Ram Trucks as long as there is some savings from a 2500 Ram
    other wise why not just buy a 2500 Ram??? Right

  • Scott

    jeeps didn’t sell beacause you could buy a stripped versions of the diesel. forcing poeple to bu a top trim only to get fuel efficiency is what kill it. offer a diesel in all model and it’ll go like hot cakes. most want it for pure efficiency such as part runners, commuters etc. if you want heavy hauling than you’ll get a 1 ton. get rid of the 3/4 all together just wasting money to carry 2 identical trucks with different badging and have to give them awaya at the end of the year. there we go just saved chrylser half a billion dolars, maybe they’ll give me a free truck.

  • Lil-dog

    Having the 1/2 ton market with Diesel again will be popular once everyone towing their RV’s (most are 1/2 ton towable rated) gets sick of 10 mpg with their gasoline engines.  The reading I got was a V6 Cummins Diesel for the 1/2 ton which would fit the current frame well and still provide adequate power.

  • Scottdrake

    Geez, Dodge had the technology a decade ago to do this (a smaller diesel for half tons) and I would have bought one if it didn’t add 20% to the purchase price. Diesel is the way to go. I want torque. Hemis are for street rods ( one would be great in my 34 Plymouth coupe). Thanks to liberal politicians for wrecking the world economy I’ll have to run my 02 5.9l gas 1500 4×4 into the ground before buying a new truck.