Chrysler is ramping up production of the EcoDiesel engine for the Ram 1500, as consumer demand has far outstripped availability. Chrysler now expects about 20 percent of Ram 1500s will be sold with the EcoDiesel engine for the 2015 model year.
Chrysler now expects about 20 percent of Ram 1500s will be sold with the EcoDiesel engine for the 2015 model year.
That's double the original estimates.
Chrysler figured only 10 percent of buyers would opt for the oil-burner when it launched earlier this year. Then more than 8,000 orders poured in during the first three days the engine was available, which filled the initial allocation.
"The demand is there for this product, and customers have asked for it," said Bob Hegbloom, CEO of the Ram truck brand.
Recognizing the pent-up demand has allowed the Ram EcoDiesel to take off, filling a void in the marketplace, said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for automotive research firm, AutoPacific.
"The Ram diesel is a sales success and actually a very refined powertrain," he said in an email. "It isn't some Frankenstein oddball engine. It feels like it was plucked out of the Audi A8. It's quiet, torquey, efficient and doesn't necessarily break the bank. The price walk from the Hemi V8 to the diesel is actually reasonable."
The EcoDiesel is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, the Ram 1500 can tow up to 9,200 pounds, yet it's still capable of achieving 28 miles per gallon on the highway. It carries a starting sticker price of $36,475. The engine is sourced through Fiat's VM Motori venture, and the production increases will be online at both Ram factories, in Warren, MI, and Saltillo, Mexico, by the end of November.
Plus, the engine drives smoothly and returns real-world fuel economy that's often better than the EPA label, Sullivan noted.
"With the eight-speed transmission, it offers a level of refinement that would feel at home on the autobahn," he said. "If Audi were to make a pickup truck, this would be the one to benchmark."
Chrysler is the only company to offer a diesel engine in a light-duty pickup, and Detroit's truck makers have used different tactics to expand their lineups as they attempt to attract new customers. While Ram has gone the diesel route, General Motors has added slightly smaller pickups, the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado, to slot below its fullsize models. Ford, meanwhile, has turned to aluminum to drop weight and increase full economy for the 2015 F-150.
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