Ever since Chrysler decided to add a diesel option to its Ram 1500 pickup trucks, buyers have been flocking to showrooms around the country to buy one. The 3.0 liter V6 EcoDiesel engine gets 28 MPG on the highway when mated to Chrysler’s 8 speed automatic transmission, making it the highest mileage full-size pickup you can buy. Customer demand has convinced Chrysler to equip 20% of new Ram 1500 trucks with the EcoDiesel engine starting in November, up from 10% today.
According to Bob Hegbloom, Ram brand president, 60% of buyers for the EcoDiesel equipped Ram 1500 are “conquest sales”, that is people who switched to Dodge from other brands. “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,” Hegbloom said. Demand has also made it possible for Dodge dealers to discount the EcoDiesel equipped trucks less than normal for their retail customers.
Chrysler has arranged with engine supplier VM Motori to ship more of the V6 diesel engines, which make 240 hp and 420 foot-pounds of torque, to its truck manufacturing facilities in Michigan and Mexico.
How long will it be before GM and Ford decide to slip a diesel engine into their standard duty pickups? If the sales success of the EcoDiesel Dodge 1500 is any indication, the answer is, “Not long”.