GM Ready to Jump in If Diesel Half-Tons Take Off

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

If new diesel offerings by Ram and Nissan in the half-ton pickup truck segment prove popular, General Motors is poised and ready to compete.

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.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon to get Diesel Power

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.

Discuss this story at

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="">Google+</A>.

More by Luke Vandezande

Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • Jimszr2 Jimszr2 on Oct 11, 2013

    Not quite.sure what about that gutless oil burner. 7.3. The.noise away Ya.9mpg is great in the city NOT!. You fail to.mention you.probably have a 55 gallon barrel under the truck.acting as a fuel.tank. hense your "long range" ability. And lastly.the cost to fix complex pos' is frightening . You.have to put everything you own.on the line to get a loan to buy a diesel truck. And then get bent.over every time without lube to fix the.damn thing. No thanks.I'll stick with spark plugs :)

  • Chris Chris on Dec 04, 2013

    One factor in deciding to buy a diesel is the expected longer life of the truck. I would not consider buying a 1/2 diesel unless I knew I could get 200k out of it. My 2011 Silverado Hybrid has 75,000 and shows no sign of any problems - my guess is 200k is within reach.