Proof that Americans want diesel trucks, Chrysler announced it got more than 8,000 orders for the 2014 Ram 1500 diesel in the first 3 days of ordering. Now Ford and GM have no choice but to return fire in-kind, if they know what’s good for their bottom line.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has a 28 MPG rating on the highway, putting it head-and-shoulders above the current competition. It’s unlikely even Ford’s mostly-aluminum 2015 F-150 will be able to beat the EcoDiesel’s sedan-rivaling fuel economy. Meanwhile, the 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engine still cranks out 240 horsepower and, more-importantly, 420 ft-lbs of torque in a very-usable powerband. Is it any wonder that truck buyers are chomping at the proverbial bit to get one of these new Rams for themselves?
Production of the 2014 models has just begun, and the first deliveries are scheduled for March, with Chrysler figuring, at most, 30% of customers will opt for the diesel engine. But intial orders account for some 50% of all 2014 Ram 1500 sales. No doubt much of this is from pent-up demand, but with the EcoDiesel engine costing just $2,850 more than the gas-chugging HEMI, it’s easy to see why people would make the jump to diesel.
In just a few short years, the truck market has shifted dramatically due to customer demands and government regulations. The Ford EcoBoost engines has become a reliable replacement for displacement in vehicles like the F-150, and GM is bringing a turbodiesel “compact” truck to the American market as well. But Chrysler definitely has the advantage for now, and the two other Detroit automakers had better follow suit.