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Chrysler Doubling Output of Diesel-Powered Rams

Demand for gas-sipping engine drove production increase.

by on Sep.30, 2014

Chrysler Group is doubling the output of EcoDiesel-powered Ram 1500 pickups to keep up with demand.

In a striking success for diesel power, one of every five Ram full-size pickup trucks rolling off Chrysler Group truck assembly lines in Warren, Michigan, and Saltillo, Mexico, will be powered by a diesel engine built by Fiat by the end of November.

Robert Hegbloom, the head of the Ram Brand, said the demand for 3.0-liter EcoDiesel version of the Ram 1500 pickup has been double what Chrysler expected. Fuel economy and the exclusivity of the EcoDiesel led to the decision to increase the diesel powertrain mix to 20%, he added.

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“Innovation sometimes comes with risk, but being first to market with a diesel engine for the half-ton segment has shown to be a great decision for the Ram Brand,” added Hegbloom. “The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is a game-changer in the industry, and has proved to be a key to conquest sales over our competitors.”

When the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel opened for orders earlier this year, Ram Truck received more than 8,000 requests within three days, which quickly filled the initial allocation for the exclusive powertrain.

The announcement follows the Chrysler Group’s decision to raise production at its Warren Truck plant outside of Detroit by 100 units per day or about 28,500 units annually to keep up with demand.

Chrysler’s Ram trucks have been steadily gaining marketshare, primarily from Chevrolet, according to IHS Automotive, and the strong sales of the diesel-powered truck are likely to intensify the pressure on General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to add diesel engines options to their full-size truck lines.

Nissan, which has relatively small stake in the pickup truck market, has already committed to adding a diesel engine to its Titan pickup truck.

(Fiat, Mitsubishi teaming for new midsize truck. For more, Click Here.)

GM plans to add a diesel engine option to its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsized trucks next year, Jeff Luke, GM chief of trucking engineering, re-confirmed.

(Click Here for details on the recall of 690,000 Toyota Tacomas.)

Ford, GM and Chrysler also have offered optional diesel engines in the heavy-duty pickup for years and the Cummins-built diesel engine offered on the Ram Heavy Duty has an 85% take rate, while both Ford and GM have made substantial investments in new diesel engines for their heavy-duty trucks.

(To see more about Lexus taking the top three spots for worry-free vehicles, Click Here.)

Until Chrysler introduced the diesel-powered Ram at the start of the 2014 model year, gasoline engines ruled the segment. Fiat Group’s VM Motori builds the EcoDiesel and has increased production to meet North American consumer demand.

The 2015 Ram 1500 is America’s most fuel-efficient pickup truck with its exclusive 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel that packs 240 horsepower, 420 lb.-ft. of torque and gets 28 miles per gallon. It can also tow 9,200 pounds.

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2 Responses to “Chrysler Doubling Output of Diesel-Powered Rams”

  1. Jorge says:

    I highly doubt the Fiat Diesel will be able to live up to any of the Cummins Diesels performance and reliability. If people start to experience the typical Diesel issues that U.S. auto makers were known for in the 80′s or Fiat owners in Europe have experienced for decades… then FCA will have burned another bridge.

    IMO it’s a disgrace to be using Fiat Diesels in Chrysler products after Cummins spent years and millions of dollars developing a proper Diesel specifically for the RAM 1500 and SUV models. Fiat may live to regret their decision?

  2. Mike says:

    Might have been worth noting that GM bought 50 percent of VM Motori in 2007, just before GM ran into, shall we say, a small cash-flow problem and two years before the engine was announced. Fiat also bought 50 percent of VM, in 2011. So I don’t know who owns what now, but the timing indicates GM may have had a hand in designing this engine, for good or for ill. In any event, it’s torquier than the 5.7 Hemi gas engine also offered. The operator is also supposed to fill a urea tank every 10,000 miles or so, and I suspect they’ve already found out what happens when you don’t. I doubt if it’s pretty.