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]