With or without Chrysler, Cummins is committed to continuing development of the all-new light-duty diesel engine that was slated to debut in the Dodge Ram 1500 by 2010.
In January, Chrysler told PickupTrucks.com that the ultra-clean diesel engine had been postponed until 2011 or later. Then, last week, Chrysler declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy with backing from the Obama administration, leaving potential Ram 1500 diesel buyers further concerned about the engine's fate.
“Chrysler’s delay has no impact on the [light-duty diesel] engine,” said Mark Land, director of public relations at Cummins. “We’re still moving forward with development, we’re just pacing it differently.”
In Chrysler’s court filings, Cummins is listed as its fifth largest creditor. The Columbus, Ind., engine maker is owed almost $44 million related to its 6.7-liter six-cylinder inline diesel engine produced for Chrysler’s Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickups, plus continued research and development, Land said.
Land said other manufacturers have expressed interest in the engine.
“We have other customers who are interested in the engine, including Nissan,” Land said. “We’re also talking to others about the engine.”
Nissan previously announced that it had formed a partnership with Cummins to supply diesel engines for its upcoming line of light commercial vehicles, scheduled to start production at Nissan’s Canton, Miss., plant in 2010.
Land wouldn’t say what the engine’s architecture would be, though it’s expected to be a 5.0-liter V-8.
In spite of Chrysler’s delay, Ford’s continued postponement of its light-duty diesel for the Ford F-150, and Toyota’s and GM’s decisions to indefinitely postpone their half-ton diesels, Land says Cummins is bullish about the engine’s long-term prospects.
“We think [coming out of the recession] it’s going to be a good market for diesel engines,” Land said. “And this new engine is a great engine.”
Cummins has supplied Chrysler with diesel engines for its pickups since 1988.