Diesel-Powered Ram 1500 Hinges on Demand Says Chrysler CEO

Huw Evans
by Huw Evans

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]

Huw Evans
Huw Evans

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  • Lil-Dog Lil-Dog on Feb 18, 2013

    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 Scottdrake on Feb 20, 2013

    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 4x4 into the ground before buying a new truck.