Dodge Sticking with Small Diesel for New Ram

December 18, 2008
This quote from pickuptrucks.com makes my oil-burning heart beat just a little bit faster: "Slow truck sales, the fact that diesel fuel still costs more than gasoline, and tougher emissions standards driving costs up won’t stop Chrysler from offering a light-duty diesel engine in the Dodge Ram 1500."

That's a bold move from a company shuttering its entire production infrastructure for one month, but I think it's a smart move. And not just because I'm a diesel nut. It could also give the Ram a distinct edge over half-tons made by Toyota and Ford, both of whom have put their light-duty diesel engine projects on hold.

Just like GM doing the right thing and spending more on powertrain technology like direct-injection for its new vehicles when port fuel injection would do just fine, thank you very much, Chrysler's commitment to continue development of its small diesel is one that could end up paying dividends. Truck guys know the benefits of diesel well, and legions of Ram owners are maniacally devoted to their Cummins turbo diesel inline-sixes. The pump has been primed, and the truck world is eagerly awaiting the new baby Cummins, which is rumored to be a V-8 of around 5.0 liters. Chrysler may be a bit bloodied up, but it's staying to fight another round, and with the excellent new Ram pickup propelled by a miserly, torquey diesel in its corner, perhaps fortunes will start to turn around.

It's just a shame Chrysler doesn't have this engine in the here and now; the North American Truck of the Year competition between the Ram and the F-150 would be that much better if it were.

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