American automakers know that pickup trucks are their bread-and-butter money-making machines, but increasing fuel economy standards are forcing a level of innovation not seen in decades. An executive for the Ram truck brand recently acknowledged that the first automaker to sell a legitimate, 30 MPG truck essentially “wins” the pickup wars.
That’s what Ram’s brand director Bob Hegbloom told to Automotive News in a recent interview. When asked if “30 MPG is attainable without re-engineering the truck”, Hegbloom responded by saying:
The first manufacturer that gets to 30 mpg wins. We are seeing that with our 28 mpg EcoDiesel as well as the 25 mpg on the Pentastar V-6 model that fuel economy is so important. We are seeing it in the share gains and the growth for the brand. That’s a number that is out there, but I don’t think you can stop there.
Earlier in the interview he claims that drivers of the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel are regularly achieving in the low 30 MPG range with their oil-burning trucks. But there’s still the 2015 Ford F150 with its lightweight aluminum body and new small-displacement EcoBoost V6 to contend with, and it could match or exceed the 28 MPG rating of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. There’s little doubt that soon, possibly very soon, one of America’s Big Three automakers will sell a truck with a 30+ MPG fuel economy rating.
Whoever gets there first may indeed win some new customers, but there’s still brand loyalty and skepticism to contend with. Not every pickup owner is ready to embrace diesel engines or aluminum bodies…and for them there’s always the Chevy Silverado. This bold statement by Hegbloom makes you wonder just how close automakers are to a 30 MPG truck.
Which automaker do you think will be the first to build a 30 MPG pickup?