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Automotive News

September 30, 2014


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DETROIT -- Chrysler Group, struggling to keep pace with demand for one of its newest products, plans to boost production of light-duty Ram pickups equipped with diesel engines.

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will account for 20 percent of the Ram 1500 pickup’s annual production volume, up from 10 percent today, Chrysler said in a statement today, without giving details.

The additional output may help Chrysler win customers from bigger rivals Ford Motor Co. and General Motors. Chrysler says nearly 60 percent of all Ram 1500 EcoDiesel deliveries have been conquest sales from competitors’ pickup brands, a notable achievement given the segment’s high owner-loyalty rates.

The optional EcoDiesel engine carries the industry’s highest EPA highway rating for pickups, at 28 mpg. It has become one of Chrysler’s fastest-selling vehicles since its launch in February.

Chrysler doesn’t break out unit sales of the light-duty Ram 1500 and heavy-duty Ram 2500 and 3500. The Automotive News Data Center estimates Chrysler’s Warren, Mich., plant will build about 335,000 Ram 1500s this year, up 17 percent from 2013 totals.

The company said the increase in EcoDiesel mix will be completed by the end of November at the Michigan and Mexico plants.

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine is built in Cento, Italy, by Fiat Automobiles subsidiary VM Motori. Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa said Ram worked with VM Motori to obtain more diesel engines specifically for the Ram 1500 and that Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel production would be unaffected.

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Automotive News

GM Considers A Countermove: Light-Duty Diesels

January 20, 2014

Article Quotes:

DETROIT -- Steve Kiefer, General Motors' vice president of global powertrain, said he is considering a diesel engine for the light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra to counter fuel economy improvements due on the Ford F-150 and Ram pickups.

He also said GM engineers are working to improve the cylinder cutoff system already on the trucks. The system turns off half an engine's cylinders when the vehicle is cruising.

The good news for GM is that it has a diesel for its pickups ready to go. GM engineers designed a 4.5-liter diesel V-8, but the project was put on ice when the company spiraled into bankruptcy in 2009.

"We are looking closely at diesel entrees in that segment," Kiefer said. "In fact, I heard the term 'dust off' that 4 1/2-liter at one point. That is certainly one of the options. Clearly, we have a portfolio of diesel engines."

The 4.5-liter V-8 was to be built in GM's Tonawanda, N.Y., engine plant. GM had gone as far as clearing factory floor space and installing the transfer lines in 2008.

Though the engine was advanced for its time, with a single turbocharger mounted between the cylinder heads and other innovations, GM would likely redesign the engine -- possibly reducing displacement -- and adopting the latest friction reduction technologies.
 

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The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will account for 20 percent of the Ram 1500 pickup’s annual production volume, up from 10 percent today.

Chrysler says nearly 60 percent of all Ram 1500 EcoDiesel deliveries have been conquest sales from competitors’ pickup brands, a notable achievement given the segment’s high owner-loyalty rates.
While the Colorado diesel will be nice, a 60% conquest rate is alarming.

It may certainly be time to offer a diesel engine in all of GM's full-sized trucks - Suburban, Yukon, and Escalade included.

Can you imagine the profit margin on the RAM diesel option?
 

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While the Colorado diesel will be nice, a 60% conquest rate is alarming.

It may certainly be time to offer a diesel engine in all of GM's full-sized trucks - Suburban, Yukon, and Escalade included.

Can you imagine the profit margin on the RAM diesel option?
Considering the engine is produced in Italy and has to be shipped across the Atlantic, I would think it's not that great. The Heavy Duty pickup diesels ask considerably more than V6 Ram.
 

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Considering the engine is produced in Italy and has to be shipped across the Atlantic, I would think it's not that great. The Heavy Duty pickup diesels ask considerably more than V6 Ram.
Shipping is amazingly inexpensive these days. There is a large amount of excess capacity on the sea lanes. Couple this with the strong dollar and weak euro, and I assure you, that this is quite the profit center:

Option Charge: $4,000
Please check with your local dealership for availability.
Eco-Diesel engine package includes:
230-Amp Alternator
"3.0L Diesel" Badge
3.55 Rear Axle Ratio
A numerically lower axle ratio results in lower engine rpm and better fuel economy.
800-Amp Maintenance Free Battery
Electronically Controlled Throttle
GVW Rating - 6,950 Pounds
Maximum Duty Engine Cooling
Next Generation Engine Controller
Selective Catalytic Reduction (UREA-DEF)
 

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Considering the engine is produced in Italy and has to be shipped across the Atlantic, I would think it's not that great. The Heavy Duty pickup diesels ask considerably more than V6 Ram.
Yeah, but, if it's selling that well I assume incentives should be low or non existent I'd hope and that would be a big chi-ching I bet.

This is one area where GM dropped the ball. Reading the article gives me a little hope the 4.5 will see life after all in some form.
 

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While the Colorado diesel will be nice, a 60% conquest rate is alarming.

It may certainly be time to offer a diesel engine in all of GM's full-sized trucks - Suburban, Yukon, and Escalade included.

Can you imagine the profit margin on the RAM diesel option?
Yes, and we all know how long it takes to do these things. I hope GM has foreseen these problems and have been working on them for some time . Dusting off the 4.5 diesel does not make sense to me. They should have been improving that engine all along. I can not understand GM making a commitment to something and spending a large amount of money, then just put it on the shelf. That not a good way to run a company.
 

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I don't think putting a diesel in the GM LD trucks would be as easy as some think. First, the 4.5 is old technology and I don't think it would be competitive with the newer generation engines. I think it would suffer when compared to newer engines with a lack of power and/or poor fuel mileage.

Also, I think the Ram is selling well because their trucks have a long history of having dependable diesels. On the other hand, GM's attempt to put diesels in their LD trucks suffered greatly because their first attempt was a disaster because of a problem engine. I know many will say that the GM fiasco doesn't matter because it was so long ago but many of us lived through the disaster or our parents did when we were young. We're still buying trucks and many of us will wait a few years after GM has a diesel before we will take a chance on one. We didn't wait the first time and we were badly burned.
 

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To me, this is COMMON SENSE.

How could GM NOT see this coming?

The Silverado and Sierra should've LAUNCHED with optional diesel powertrains.
This... The say they want their trucks to be #1, yet they cut their legs off when given a chance to stand out. Just unbelievable they are still "considering" a diesel...
 
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GM needs to come out with a diesel for the 1500 that is more competitive in pricing. $4000 premium on the Ram for a v6 diesel would make me not want to choose the option. i would rather put that money towards leather heated seats and other features. with the high cost of the motor and cost for fuel, does it really pay?
 

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I'm not sure it would be worth it for GM to invest the resources in designing or updating and appropriate diesel to match current and future emissions regulations. Probably an easy 2 year endeavour if not longer. They should definitely go 8 speed and try to improve aerodynamics to improve fuel economy. Other than that I don't know, maybe they can try the hybrid truck route again. If done well electric motors should (in theory) be a great fit for truck applications. In practice, who knows?
 

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I don't think putting a diesel in the GM LD trucks would be as easy as some think. First, the 4.5 is old technology and I don't think it would be competitive with the newer generation engines. I think it would suffer when compared to newer engines with a lack of power and/or poor fuel mileage.

Also, I think the Ram is selling well because their trucks have a long history of having dependable diesels. On the other hand, GM's attempt to put diesels in their LD trucks suffered greatly because their first attempt was a disaster because of a problem engine. I know many will say that the GM fiasco doesn't matter because it was so long ago but many of us lived through the disaster or our parents did when we were young. We're still buying trucks and many of us will wait a few years after GM has a diesel before we will take a chance on one. We didn't wait the first time and we were badly burned.
Ummmm are you confusing cars with trucks? Never heard of the Duramax?
 

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I really don't see the benefit of a diesel compared to the new 5.3 and 6.2. For eco or must-be-the-best-mpg people, then I get it why the Ram diesel is selling. Great for them. But around here in the NE, diesel fuel is $1.00 more than regular per gallon. So for my crude math, it is no benefit.
Pre-low sulfer diesel, this Ram diesel would be a game changer, cause diesel was $1.00 less a gallon. Maybe that's why GM scraped it.
 
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