Update #1 June-18-2009 01:49 PDT:
Chrysler spokesperson Bryan Zvibleman told PickupTrucks.com this afternoon that "we continue to explore all types of propulsion options. We have no additional information to share at this time."
Chrysler has killed its much-anticipated light-duty diesel engine for the half-ton Dodge Ram 1500, at least temporarily, according to a motion filed by Chrysler in bankruptcy court earlier this week and reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"This is not a surprise," Mark Land, director of public relations at diesel engine manufacturer Cummins, told PickupTrucks.com today. “We're OK with this. We've been trying to rework development of the [light-duty diesel] engine over the last several months, given the current economic climate."
Chrysler hasn't responded to a request for comment.
Land said Cummins' engine contract with Chrysler has been voided as part of Chrysler's Chapter 11 debt restructuring. Under Chapter 11, Chrysler's assets and liabilities were assigned to two entities: Old Chrysler and New Chrysler. Italian automaker Fiat, which recently merged with New Chrysler after that portion of the company emerged from bankruptcy, did not assume the light-duty diesel contract, leaving it with the Old Chrysler.
"Chrysler hasn't told us they don't want to [build the engine]," Land said. "It just won't happen under the terms of the original contract with the New Chrysler."
News of the small Cummins engine being killed isn't surprising. GM, Ford and Toyota have also indefinitely paused their small-diesel programs. Ford, GM, Chrysler and Toyota had previously promised half-ton diesel engines for their half-ton pickups by 2010.
In January, Chrysler told PickupTrucks.com that the ultra-clean diesel engine had been postponed until 2011 or later.
Land says development of the light-duty diesel engine will continue, with or without Chrysler.
"We've slowed the pace down considerably, but our plans for a new production line are still moving forward," Land said.