By on October 27, 2009

I hear that train a-Cummins... (courtesy:Flickr/Gods Of Powerstroke)

Fans of oil-burners, brace yourselves. Dodge is confirming [via Detroit News] that a hybrid Hemi version of its light-duty Ram pickup is in the works. A diesel option, however, is still being reviewed. And its prospects aren’t looking good. When Chrysler senior vice president of engineering Scott Kunselman confirmed that the hybrid would be a reality, the only thing he would say about the diesel option is that he “isn’t convinced there is enough of a market among recreational buyers,” who buy light-duty trucks. His argument is that recreational light-duty buyers don’t see the long-term reliability of diesels as being worth the extra price of admission, a perspective which reflects both the classic “Detroit knows best” attitude and a resignation on Chrysler’s part to doing business from Consumer Reports’ cellar. Especially considering Chrysler’s partners in developing its two-mode hybrid appear to be walking away from the technology. And since 85 percent of heavy-duty rams are bought with the diesel engine, you’d think it would make a certain amount of sense to offer a Cummins option in the mass-market model. But it’s looking like that train will not be coming back to the station. Meanwhile, has anyone seen Mahindra lately? We’re starting to worry…

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

31 Comments on “Ram 1500: Diesel Option Dead?...”


  • avatar

    What’s being left unsaid is that Dodge would rather see those who want diesel Rams fork up the extra cash for the 2500 and 3500 models. I wonder how much extra profit lies in that?

  • avatar
    Bergwerk

    Chrysler isn’t alone. All of the other players in the light duty truck business have put their diesel plans on hold for the same reason. The very limited success of diesel BMW, Jeep and Mercedes SUV’s would seem to bear this out. Sadly, the price of the diesel option doesn’t pay for itself in increased fuel economy during the typical ownership cycle of this type of vehicle. Long term maintenance costs of 2010 emissions compliant diesels is unclear also (see Cummins 6.7 liter). I am all for the option personally, and am on the lookout for a Grand Cherokee diesel to replace my aging Orvis: however, I believe I am the exception.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    John Williams
    +1

    Spot-on. Offering a diesel 1500 would sap sales from the Cummins 2500 far more than from competitors. The only benefit to this is if the diesel 1500’s combined EPA rating is high enough to bring up the truck fleet average. Otherwise they’d benefit by pushing low-mpg truck buyers over the GVW limit and out of the CAFE calculation.

  • avatar
    phargophil

    In my experience of working for a company owned by FIAT, the choice of manufacturer for a diesel engine won’t rest with Chrysler or Dodge. As happened to my company, we were designing product to use the next generation of Cummins engines when FIAT took over. Midstream in the project, we were directed that we WILL use Iveco diesel engines. Needless to say, much hurried redesign was necessary to incorporate this directive. At the time, very few people in our plant had even heard of Iveco, much less the customer base.

    It doesn’t matter what has been successful in the past, FIAT will tell Chrysler what to do. My money says that if Dodge trucks offer a diesel in 5 years, it will be an Iveco.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    This does actually make sense to cancel. They were planning a new V6 Cummins diesel independent of the I6 found in the 2500 and up. Making an entirely new engine for a niche market? Not exactly a good idea.

    Here’s to hoping Fiat will realize the Cummins ISB is THE reason that people buy Dodge class 2 and up trucks. Switching to Iveco would be shooting the “Ram brand” in the foot

  • avatar
    Accords

    Can someone please tell me…

    Why Fiatsler is going forward with the “Hemi”- (in name only) tied to a HYBRID unit?!

    What is the incessant point.. of having a 5.7+ltr vehicle.. a truck mind you..

    Strapped to a hybrid unit?!

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Kunselman says, “recreational light-duty buyers don’t see the long-term reliability of diesels as being worth the extra price of admission.”

    It’s hard to amortize the extra cost of the diesel option when the rest of the vehicle falls apart long before the engine is finished.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    When Chrysler senior vice president of engineering Scott Kunselman confirmed that the hybrid would be a reality, the only thing he would say about the diesel option is that he “isn’t convinced there is enough of a market among recreational buyers,” who buy light-duty trucks.

    Wrong. He said; “would not confirm the diesel is still in the works and refused to comment on its future other than”, as shown below, than added the convinced part.

    “But the engineering chief would not confirm the diesel is still in the works and refused to comment on its future other than to say he isn’t convinced there is enough of a market among recreational buyers.”
    http://www.detnews.com/article/20091027/AUTO01/910270321/1148/rss25

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    Accords:

    Can someone please tell me…

    Why Fiatsler is going forward with the “Hemi”- (in name only) tied to a HYBRID unit?!

    What is the incessant point.. of having a 5.7+ltr vehicle.. a truck mind you..

    Strapped to a hybrid unit?!

    Have you seen Chrysler’s V6’s? They’re all ancient and inefficient. The 2-mode system was created in a time before the Pentastar/Phoenix V6, and I believe they’re going to use that V6 going forward

  • avatar
    windswords

    cdotson:

    “John Williams
    +1

    Spot-on. Offering a diesel 1500 would sap sales from the Cummins 2500 far more than from competitors. The only benefit to this is if the diesel 1500’s combined EPA rating is high enough to bring up the truck fleet average. Otherwise they’d benefit by pushing low-mpg truck buyers over the GVW limit and out of the CAFE calculation.”

    Not even close. There is no market for these engines. They would get BETTER mpg’s than a gas engine so CAFE is not an issue. The 2500-4500 market is NOT the same as the 1500 light truck market. NO ONE is gonna buy an HD because that’s the only one that comes with a diesel. If the US didn’t have stupid EPA regs for diesel and were like Europe the engines would be cheaper to make. THEN you might be able to sell enough to the light truck buyer.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Estimating the level of cannibalisation of sales requires some rather sensitive data, which their sales and marketing team may have but armchair quarterbacks certainly don’t. It is a big factor, there is typically a lot more gravy on the table with the bigger trucks. If you think about it it doesn’t cost much more to build a bigger truck than a smaller one, but the difference in sale price is out of all proportion.

    Rule of thumb at one company was that that we sold the base car to the distributor for twice the cost of the components, but for higher series and so on we got 5 times the incremental cost of components. Now I’m sure the exact numbers have changed in 20 years, but not all that much.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    phargophil :
    My money says that if Dodge trucks offer a diesel in 5 years, it will be an Iveco.

    If I were Toyota, I’d be having some serious discussions with Cummins.

    Sure, the Tundra’s a hard sell now.

    But think long term, 4+ years out. If Government Motors and Fiatsler stay true to form, they should be on or past their 2nd BK filing or liquidation. The Tundra, steadily improved, with some Cummins cachet, could become the new F150. (Although I still doubt they’ll ever use that San Antonio plant).

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    The other side of the equation is Cummins. They probably are not going to pony up the resources for a smaller displacement diesel just on Chryco’s behalf.

    Chryco doesn’t have the resources to pay for it and unless Ford comes out of the wings to take over the contract — a rather brilliant move by Ford if they could pull it off — there’s no one else that would buy that engine. Toyota doesn’t have the market share to pull it off.

    Cummins isn’t the premier N.A. diesel manu by chance nor did they get that way by doing stupid moves.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Thank You Chrysler for giving us one more reason to buy a Ford.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    My 05 colorado has 172,000 on it and runs new. My work, not GM’s. Synthetic fluids changed well before schedule have surely helped. If GM made a light duty 4 cylinder diesel for this truck it would solve a lot of contractors problems. Between gigantic, cant see into the bed full size trucks to the tiny ranger I cant find the right porridge.

    • 0 avatar
      iainthornton

      over here we have exactly what you’re looking for – diesel Colorado. Also branded as Isuzu Rodeo – although I think they stopped offering it as a Chevrolet
      2.5TD and 3.0TD IIRC
      is there any way to import for you?
      our trucks tend to be offered with a V6 but mainly sold as a 4 cylinder diesel. I THINK now though, all are offered diesel only
      I have a Mitsubishi L200…the best selling here (only because it’s cheap, it’s by far the worst)
      02 model, 2.5TD 98bhp/170lb ft
      given the choice, I’dve had Colorado or Ranger
      stick away from Nissan Navara (Frontier?) because of bad reliability
      http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/200944344703626/sort/priceasc/usedcars/make/chevrolet/model/colorado/quicksearch/true/page/1/postcode/wv164rq/radius/1500?previous=%2Fsearch%2Fresults%2Fusedcars%2Fpostcode%2Fwv164rq%2Fradius%2F1500%2Fmake%2Fchevrolet%2Fmodel%2Fcolorado%2Fquicksearch%2Ftrue%2Fpage%2F1%2Fsort%2Fpriceasc&anchor=advert200944344703626&logcode=p
       
      hope it’s actually useful…ie this is a realistic proposition. I suspect not though

  • avatar
    gslippy

    People don’t buy a truck to get a hybrid. Hey Chrysler, moving toward the center means you lose. Keep your distinction among the others in this market.

    Great pic, by the way.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The Chrsyler – Cummins deal for a light duty diesel engine has been dead for many months now. See, for example, this article from June 2009:

    http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2009/06/chrysler_to_dump_cummins_diese.html

    Ford, GM and Honda all have put their diesel product expansion plans on hold in the US as well. The main problem is that diesel engines are too expensive for the benefits they provide in light duty applications.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    No diesel Rams?

    My goodness, what will the Calvin-pissing-on-the-Chevy-logo-sticker crowd in my neck of the woods find to replace them?

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    Seriously, how do you get that much smoke to come out of an engine? I really want to know.

  • avatar
    charly

    Why should Toyota use Cummins when they have Hino and Isuzu?

  • avatar
    cdotson

    windswords:

    I have anecdotal evidence that says you’re wrong. I have known two people (probably more if I thought hard) that bought a pickup for purely recreational reasons and bought a Ram 2500 because it had the Cummins ISB. One guy had a 94 Cummins 2500 that he used as a heavy truck but bought a 2001 for his wife. Another bought a 2003 who was just looking for something different than his V8 Exploder and missed having a pickup around the house, plus wanted a diesel because he liked the technical aspects of diesel engines. To my knowledge neither used those trucks for more than the “occasional home-improvement warehouse” trip or the “occasional dump run” that people say pickups aren’t necessary for at all.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    And why should Ford use Cummins when they have the PSA collaboration and the Scorpion?

  • avatar
    kericf

    seabrjim :
    October 27th, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    My 05 colorado has 172,000 on it and runs new. My work, not GM’s. Synthetic fluids changed well before schedule have surely helped. If GM made a light duty 4 cylinder diesel for this truck it would solve a lot of contractors problems. Between gigantic, cant see into the bed full size trucks to the tiny ranger I cant find the right porridge.

    Just imagine that the Colorado is basically the Isuzu D-Max sold with a 2.5L Turbo Diesel in the rest of the world outside the US. A diesel that gets in the 30mpg range for a light truck. Good thing GM never liked Isuzu that much.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    gimmeamanual :
    October 28th, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Seriously, how do you get that much smoke to come out of an engine? I really want to know.

    it does seem to be running a bit rich, doesn’t it?

  • avatar
    windswords

    The pic looks like a race only vehicle that is not street legal (no pollution controls, tuned for max power). I’ve seen these kinds of trucks on televised tractor pulls, etc. They put out enormous amounts of smoke (and torque)!

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    I also thought this was old news. I read right here on TTAC months ago that the plans for Cummins to develop a smaller V6 turbodiesel for the RAM1500 was shelved.

    As someone who would be in the target market for this truck, I am disappointed. I’m not interested in a gas-powered truck, and certainly not a hybrid. I’m glad that Dodge finally wrapped the 2500-series in the new bodystyle for 2010, but I would not sell my 1994 RAM2500 Cummins to buy one. If they never build anything I like better, I can keep my current truck roadworthy almost forever.

    You guys can gripe about Dodge quality all you like, but the only complaint that I have is with the factory stereos which always break. I went through four of them before I finally installed an aftermarket unit. Granted, my truck is 15 years old, so maybe Dodge truck quality has gone downhill since.

    @Bergwerk: Fiatsler may have looked at the numbers for Jeep GC diesel sales and concluded that light-duty diesels don’t sell, but IMO they would be in error. I’ve looked into the GC diesel. When they initially started selling it, the diesel was only available in the top trim level of GC which jacked-up the price. I wouldn’t want to be forced to pay for sat-nav and heated seats to get a diesel.

    On the maintenance side, the engine in the GC diesel requires some Mercedes-spec 5W30 oil that’s expensive and difficult to find in North America, and you have to go to a Mercedes dealer to find an oil filter because none of the parts stores carries them. That’s a $200 oil change with me doing the labor myself!

    Aside: I checked-out Iveco’s website. They have 5.9L and 6.7L I6 turbodiesels in their NEF engine series. Are those displacements a coincidence or are these actually Cummins engines?

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I have to think there is a market for a 1500 with a diesel for the occasional towing over gas as I would buy one. Chrysler just has to market and support it, which I feel that they’ve done a poor job of doing just that with the current Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD. JP Magazine had an excellent long term report on this CRD and did a lot of towing and had some impressive MPG…

    2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD Road Trip – Diesel Grand Cherokee
    Long Term Road Trip
    http://www.jpmagazine.com/featuredvehicles/154_0903_2008_jeep_grand_cherokee_road_trip/index.html

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Up until last year, Cummins and Iveco were knee deep in a European diesel engine joint venture. It is quite possible that some of Iveco’s products may have roots in Cummins designs.

    http://www.industryweek.com/articles/cummins_to_conclude_joint_ventures_with_cnh_and_iveco_16868.aspx

  • avatar
    rpn453

    windswords : The pic looks like a race only vehicle that is not street legal (no pollution controls, tuned for max power). I’ve seen these kinds of trucks on televised tractor pulls, etc. They put out enormous amounts of smoke (and torque)!

    I see them on the street all the time. Not quite that bad, but still an obnoxious amount of smoke.

    Because diesels are so easy to tune for smoky emissions, I’m actually happy when manufacturers offer fewer diesel options.

  • avatar
    colin42

    I work for Cummins so I’m not going to say anything that’s not in the public domain

    windswords :
    NO ONE is gonna buy an HD because that’s the only one that comes with a diesel.

    I’d bet you half a car park of 2500 Diesel Rams that your wrong! Most of the HD Rams I see in Columbus IN are loaded with (obviously very heavy) air

    CommanderFish :
    They were planning a new V6 Cummins diesel

    Cummins HAVE developed a 5ish ltr V8 that was destine for the 1500 – They didn’t plan a 2011 launch without spending lots of money (before July’s announcement canceling the contact)

    phargophil :
    My money says that if Dodge trucks offer a diesel in 5 years, it will be an Iveco.

    According to yesterday Chrysler details they’ll keep the Cummins 6.7 in the HD rams. The suggestion is that a Iveco diesel would be fitted in the the Ram 1500 – however looking at the various Fiat (Iveco) engine website I can’t see anything that would meet the light duty truck need (assuming you’d want something that is >300 hp)

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Mike Beranek: Yeah Jim Bob in the sticks makes payments on an $80,000 house and an $80,000 pickup truck. What?
  • Mike Beranek: Who sets gas prices at the pump? Oil company executives, who are ALL Republicans.
  • FreedMike: Another factor: the popularity of pickups and BOF SUVs. I’m not particularly fond of either vehicle...
  • FreedMike: Gee, it’s almost like the president has no control over fuel prices. Imagine that!
  • DenverMike: Quantify? Why do you think they don’t bother? Their “research” simply tells automakers exactly what they...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber