The Cummins 5.0-liter turbocharged diesel V8 that Ram initially planned to use in its pickup trucks instead will find its way into the 2015 Nissan Titan as an option, Automobile reports. It will be the first time a non-Ram pickup truck will be available with a Cummins diesel engine.
The move comes after Chrysler decided to use a 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel engine designed by VM Motori (which is partially owned by Fiat) due to fuel economy concerns with the Cummins engine. Chrysler wanted its 2014 Ram 1500 trucks to achieve at least 26 miles per gallon. "Our simulations were showing 23 to 24 mpg [for the 5.0-liter engine]," says Mike Cairns, head of engineering at Ram.
Nissan had plans in 2008 to team with Cummins for a diesel engine for its Titan, when there were also plans for the second-generation Titan to share its platform with the Dodge Ram 1500, according to Automotive News, but that didn't pan out after Chrysler's bankruptcy in 2009.
Now that the dust is settling, let's put the pieces together. The 2014 Ram 1500 will get the EcoDiesel V6 as an option, making 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque; heavy-duty Rams can be equipped with the Cummins 6.7-liter diesel I6, which makes 350-385 hp and 660-850 lb-ft depending on the state of tune; and the 2015 Nissan Titan, a light-duty pick-up, will get the Cummins 5.0-liter V8 as an option, which makes roughly 300 hp and 500 lb-ft.
While the Nissan Titan currently poses no threat to Ram's truck operation - Nissan sold just 10,020 Titans this year through July while Ram sold 201,633 trucks during the same period - we like the idea of a light-duty pickup with a torque-rich diesel V8. Nissan's research shows that truck owners feel the same way, and 17 percent of them would consider switching brands if a light-duty truck was offered with a diesel V8, Automobile reports. That works out to 300,000 customers per year.