GM Ready to Jump in If Diesel Half-Tons Take Off
The 3.0-liter diesel that Ram will use in its trucks comes from Italian engine builder VM Motori. General Motors owns a big piece of the company and originally commissioned that engine for its own use. General Motors spokesman Tom Wilkinson confirmed that GM still has access to the engine.
But you still shouldn’t expect to see that engine in either Colorado or Canyon small trucks when they arrive in North America. GM currently sells the Colorado in other parts of the world with 2.5- and 2.8-liter Duramax diesel four-cylinder engines. Expect one of those in the U.S.-bound mid-size pickups.
GM is pessimistic about selling a diesel half-ton to compete with Ram and Nissan. According to Wilkinson, the company doesn’t think the benefits of a diesel half-ton will be enough to offset increased costs to consumers. That’s a perspective both Ram and Nissan would dispute.
Diesel versions of the Ram 1500 and Titan will both command price premiums over their gasoline siblings because they require heavy duty engine components. Often, that premium is thousands of dollars over the same vehicle with a gasoline engine. Starting with the 2014 model year, Jeep is offering its Grand Cherokee with an optional diesel engine for an extra $4,500.
GM is betting that premium and the higher cost of diesel fuel will be too much for most buyers to swallow. But the brand is just as ready to backpedal if customers crowd into Nissan and Ram showrooms demanding diesel trucks. Wilkinson said if that happens, GM is “in a position to respond quickly.”
Ram and Nissan will both offer diesel options in their half-ton pickups very soon. Toyota is also reportedly considering a similar move, although there hasn’t been an official announcement. General Motors is jumping on the diesel bandwagon with its compact pickup trucks, which will return to North America under both the Chevrolet and GMC brands soon. It won’t be long before the world finds out which company has the winning formula.
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