Light-duty truck buyers interested in purchasing a half-ton diesel are going to have to wait until after 2010 at the very earliest. GM is the latest manufacturer to confirm a diesel engine won’t be offered any time soon in its light-duty pickups. Employees at GM’s Tonawanda Engine Plant near Buffalo, New York were told Monday that the all-new 4.5-liter Duramax V-8 diesel has been indefinitely postponed.
“Due to the capital constraints and the current economic climate, the 4.5-liter Duramax is on indefinite hold,” GM powertrain spokesperson Susan Garavaglia told PickupTrucks.com. “It’s not cancelled. Should the situation change, we’re still very interested in adding this technology to our product portfolio.”
The news of the so-called baby Duramax being placed on hold isn’t surprising. Ford and Toyota have also indefinitely paused their small diesel programs and Chrysler recently said a diesel for the Dodge Ram 1500 won’t be available until 2011 at the earliest. Ford, GM, Chrysler and Toyota had previously promised half-ton diesels by the 2010 calendar year.
A rapid surge in fuel prices last year that left diesel fuel with an approximate 20 percent price premium over regular gasoline and the dramatic decline in pickup truck sales have been cited as reasons by other truck manufacturers, as well as the deteriorating condition of the general economy.