Diesel Powertrains Face an Uphill Battle

  Ram EcoDiesel II

Getting people comfortable with diesel powertrains may be more difficult than some diesel fans might want you to know. Sure, heavy-duty pickup truck enthusiasts understand and know all about the benefits of a diesel powertrain, but according to a new Harris survey that might be difficult for the younger-than-30 crowd.

According to the Detroit News, Harris surveyed almost 3,000 people 18 and older to find out how knowledgable or experienced they were with a car or truck with a diesel engine. Nearly 75 percent had never been in or driven a vehicle with a diesel engine. That likely means they don't understand how different, more powerful and more efficient today’s diesels are compared to noisy, smelly diesels of the past, which seem stuck in the U.S. collective memory.

Ford offers several types of small turbodiesels outside the U.S. market (like the I-5 DuraTorq in the popular global Ranger platform) and has announced a 3.2-liter I-5 baby Power Stroke engine available for the coming fullsize Transit van, but according to our sources, there is no small diesel set for the F-150.

The Ram 1500 is the first new half-ton truck to offer a modern turbo-diesel (called the EcoDiesel, it’s a 3.0-liter V-6, pictured above), but you can bet all the other manufacturers will be watching the Ram’s sales numbers when it becomes available early in 2014.

Likewise, the next-generation Nissan Titan will have a 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins turbodiesel, and rumors persist that a diesel could be offered in one or both of the new midsize GM twins (Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon), one of which, we're hearing, is set to debut sometime very soon. GM tells us the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will go on sale in the fall of next year.

Ford Ranger 3.2L I-5 DuraTorq Diesel

Ranger-diesel II

 

Comments

Until automakers can figure out how to build a diesel engine for the same cost (or less) than a gasser there's little hope. As it stands today I can buy gasoline for a long time on the difference in price between the two.

I would think that old people would have some grips about diesels since they were around in the 70's and 80's when they were smelly, noisy, and slow. Younger people are usually more open to new ideas and alternatives.

The word will be out quickly if the new diesels offer what they claim. Young or old they will sell if competitively priced.

Younger generations may not know the difference between current engines and engines 30 years ago, but 30 years ago, they were still in diapers so what does it matter?

Younger generations (and older generations) are speaking the language of MPG. If a significantly higher MPG small turbo diesel (not that stupid mistake Nissan is going to make) was offered at a reasonable extra price like the chevy cruze, people would buy it. But the auto cartels and oil cartels don't want to let that happen. That's why they keep releasing these bullfish studies.

"You'll drive what we give you. Now be a good consumer and go get a loan."

If 75% of tweeners have zero experience with modern diesels, why would you contrast this with "noisy, smelly diesels of the past, which seem stuck in the U.S. collective memory."

This is again "poisoning the well" journalism. This comparo is in 100% of the articles, since even the TDI was introduced, guaranteeing that nobody product will ever make it to market. Shame on PUTC, again.

@Maxx Auto cartel??? Oil cartel???

You keep using phrases from the 1970s that no longer apply.

The world is awash in crude oil today. There's no cartel in oil. The world has a vast surplus of auto manufacturing capacity--it's a key reason that the Big 3 were in so much trouble a few years ago. There are no Auto Cartels.

Get gasoline back to under 2.00 per gallon (US) and all of the love of diesels, electric cars and the rest will vanish.

I'm looking for a used 3/4 ton Ram with the V10 truck engine. Almost 500 cubic inches of smooth power and torque. No diesels need apply here.

The first diesel jeep grand cherokees have been making their way to owners, and the few owners that have posted to the internet are recording fuel economy well into the 30's on slowish (read: ideal) highway drives. Maybe this is the real mileage people will get, and maybe it is just overzealous and excited new car owners boasting on the internet. But if the ecodiesel is getting well into the 30's in fuel economy with the Grand Cherokee, it is going to be a monstrous success in the Ram 1500.

Will depend on gas prices as well, if they continue to fall then they won't sell nearly as many diesels, which is what happens every time diesels start to make a comeback.

Just because young people have never ridden or driven in a diesel powered vehicle doesn't mean they don't have a negative impression. I can't go through a week of commuting without getting behind some clapped out bus or pickup that dumps the diesel black cloud pulling away from a stop.

However, that's not necessarily a marketing problem. Every Chrysler product in Minnesota that is over 7 years old is rusted through, and people here are still buying them.

Ford does not have a diesel for the F-150, thats why this site is spatting off on diesels

There is ONLY one truck in the US to offer both a 1/2 and HD diesel option. Oh did I mention it has best in class fuel economy?

What is this truck of which I speak???

ALL GUTS

ALL GLORY

RAM

GUTS
GLORY
FIRST IN EVERYTHING
RAM

ECO DIESEL > DURA TORQ

GUTLESS
GLORYLESS
DESTINED FOR FAILURE LIKE THE ECO BOOST (ECO POOP)
FORD DURA TORQ

People may not know much about diesels yet, but that all is going to change. When the Ram 1500 ecodiesel finally goes on sale, and Ram can advertise high 20's for highway MPG, it is going to make people take notice and go it to the dealerships to have a look at it.

Think about it, GM just released its new truck which haven't broken 25 highway mpgs. Their V8 gets 23 and V6 gets 24. Well Ram's V6 is already getting 25 and the ecodiesel is going to boost the number into the high 20's which is unheard of for full sized trucks. Despite what anyone says, fuel economy IS a concern for buyers and they will take notice.

The article's point is silly. We'll never know until they start building smaller diesel pickups. Speaking of which...

If you want an important story how about why are EcoDiesels taking so long to arrive at dealerships?!


American diesel truck makers need more "CREATIVE MARKETING" to draw the crowd, make the masses intrigued about small diesel trucks. The only marketing I've seen on TV is I believe its Audi's new diesl sedan commericial, u know, the one with the nice dressed lady pullin' the green handled pump and everyone running. I think RAM will need more of this type of marketing to grab the attention of the masses. I'm attracted to commercials with a truck climbing a dirt hillside, pulling logs or trucks out of the mud, but not everyone is in to that.

75% of the people in the US are broke financially and don't have a 4 yr degree worth having from even a decent university.
They are lucky we even allow them to vote. I'm certainly not going to allow the bottom 75% to select my vehicle of choice or my 401k investment allocation.

@Ken

At least Ram is willing to be the first to the market in 1/2 diesels. Neither GM or Ford has the guts to do the same. They rather just sit back and wait to see what happens, and then if it turns out to be a success they will copycat Ram.

@HEMI MONSTER

Good point. The thing you forgot to mention that I want to point out is that when the ecodiesel proves to be a success(Yes it will be), GM and Ford are already going to be well behind in the game. Over the next few years, I see HUGE sales increases for Ram as well as a high demand for the new ecodiesel.

@NLP
do you ever take a look at the stuff you post before pressing the button? This rant of yours today makes you sound like someone that most people would wish to avoid.

Who asked you? We're talking about the desirability of diesel powerplants in trucks.

Have a cup of coffee, dude!

I think the real problem is that diesel has an identity crisis. On one side, you have the heavy truck manufacturers emphasizing power. On the other, you have cars emphasizing efficiency. In the past, you could get both in one package. I drive a '99 Cummins that averages 18-19 mpg, which is great for a heavy duty pickup. Now, thanks to emissions requirements, you have to pick one or the other. Take the new Cummins, 30,000 lb max towing, but most people claim around 15-16 mpg (chime in if you get better) vs the Ecodiesel, which tows less than the Hemi, but is rated for 20+ mpg. Factor in these conflicting reports, and people who don't understand diesel are gonna stick with what they know, gas.

If you can show that it's cost-effective to buy a particular diesel, there is no reason I won't buy it. I think the same can be said for any under 30 who are in the market for a truck. And although I am doubtful about the diesel in the ram, I think most of the sub-30 men where I live (farm community) would jump at the opportunity to get a diesel in a light duty truck even if it isn't necessarily cost-effective. It seems the more involved people are with trucks or heavy machinery the more likely they are to have a favorable opinion of diesels. Probably more of a psychological thing being around diesels in tractors etc. than it is actually a smart conscious decision. I see a lot of people driving duramaxes and powerstrokes and cummins simply because they want the bigger, badder truck. Not always because they need it. But maybe that's only a small percentage of truck buyers.

When are the fuel economy numbers for the Ram Ecodeisel going to get released?

@Truck guru
I wouldn't brag about being 1 mpg HWY better on the HFE V6 than GM's V6 for several reasons.
1. GM's V6 has more torque 305 lb-ft of torque (413 Nm) @ 3900 rpm and “our V6 has torque where you need it to get the job done, with 230 lb-ft of torque available at 1,200 rpm, and more torque available from 2,400 to 5,300 rpm than competitive V6s make at their peak." http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130620/carnews/130629994#ixzz2kLxJILRn
2. GM's V6 is 1 mpg CTY better in non HFE
3. GM's V6 has a higher tow rating than the HFE
4. This one is the most important which is your 1mpg hwy lead is short term as you have a 8-speed and the GM-Ford tranny is not available at launch but everybody knows a new tranny is coming.

The same thing will apply to the big V8's as the Hemi has 410lb ft with 15/22 and the GM 6.2L has 460lb ft with 15/21. Now it appears you will have a good advantage with the EcoDiesel with 420lb ft @ 2000 and mid 20's hwy mpg.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymake/Ram2014.shtml
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/2014_Chevrolet_Silverado.shtml

@ high mileage

I have about 100 miles of city driving on my new Jeep GC Ecodiesel. Averaging 22 mpg so far. In the next few weeks, I will be logging a bunch of highway mileage and will have a good indicator as to what it will do. Most of it will be at 70-80 mph, so I may not get 30+.

Diesel hardware costs and fuel prices make it a tough case for a half-ton.

EcoBoost makes better sense. Diesel-like torque with lower engine acquisition price, cheaper fuel and no DEF or DPF.

Casey and AD nailed it. GM and Ford are ahead of the field at this point.

The higher cost of producing diesel powertrains makes the acquisition cost of the engine awfully hard to justify without a separate reason, such as a regular requirement for towing the heaviest payloads, or many thousands of annual miles driven.

I cannot make the case for either because my miles fully loaded are probably less than ten percent of my annual use. The total number of miles with any load at all is probably less than 10 for both my SUV and my pickup.

@Mark Williams,

Chrysler will recall 1.2 million Ram pickups for possible steering flaw

Dallas Morning News (blog)-51 minutes ago

Chrysler will recall as many as 1.2 million Ram pickup trucks to inspect steering tie-rods that may have been misaligned during assembly.

Those "smelly, noisy diesels of the past" also had crazy reliability and simplicity. Younger buyers are smart enough to know those old diesels were far cheaper to run than the gas engines of their day. That was then.

Today, the advantages of diesels are less clear or non existent, especially when shopping for a new 1/2 ton that won't see continual heavy towing. Most 1/2 tons don't.

Scott, thanks for the update. Could you elaborate on a little more on the composition of your current driving where you are getting 22 mpg. I would agree, at 70/80 30+mpg is virtually impossible. The amount of drag a boxy SUV makes at those speeds is tremendous, and the mileage will suffer accordingly. I have driven much smaller crossovers that barely return more than 20mpgs at 80mph. I really hope that your jeep turns out to be a fantastic vehicle, I would certainly like to see the VM 3.0L succeed here. Please keep up updated on your jeep's performance over time. I for one would like to hear about it.

Funny how gm brags about how much torque its 4.2 makes at 1200 rpm. That is great that it makes it but at anything over 1/4 throttle its gonna downshift and rev. Make the auto have true manual shifting to be able to hold the low rpms with higher throttle openings, or offer a manual to be able to use 1200 rpm torque.
I dont see how that dodge 8 speed gives any better highway mileage over the 6 speeds. The top gears are the same ratios(.67) and depending on the options they run the same rears. Number of geaers....More about stupid bragging rights than anything else.

@John not sure I agree on the physics but you are spot on in terms of the practical part:

A six speed is fine, an 8 speed is fine. But, is there a practical difference??? Not much. Is it worth buying a new truck to get 2 extra gears. Not for me.

For any high-load situation the extra cogs help. Most of us just don't need it.

My Silverado has a four speed auto that isn't much different from the four speed that I had 20 yrs ago performance-wise. The tranny in my old Chevy lasted forever and was always buttery smooth.

I think it's a "city thing". Out in rural area's diesel cars and trucks are very popular. The mass transit crowd is hopeless so the suburbs will be the one's to convert. They all drive in to the city for the most part to work. Theirs your target consumer.
Marketing will swing the 30 and under crowd.
Supply and demand will bring down the cost of diesels over time.

Build it and they will come.............

Its hard to find diesel in rural areas, I think it will be more popular in the city where its readily available.

I think the reception of light diesels in trucks will be a lot like the Jetta TDI. At first they were only sold in the most premium trim level offerd for the SportWagen and the dealers offered no incentives buying them. Then their popularity grew exponentially as everyone began to ask how you have a car that is 90% as fun to drive as any BMW 3 series yet still gets 40+ MPG's and can haul the average american family coast to coast. Now they are practically the only variant of the Jetta sold and dealerships are clearing them out.

I expect the Ram Eco Diesel will start slow but as more and more people realize how good it is, it will take off. The word has to get out, and peoples mindset needs to change. Once the EFI Liv crowd gets their hands on it though, its going to smoke and rattle just like the big boys so I guess it is a double edged sword.

@Southern...you were doing great until you said Supply And Demand will bring down cost. Wrong.

You may have meant to say that producing greater numbers of diesel engines will bring down costs--at least you'd be right on the principle of Economies of Scale.

Unfortunately, the Economies of Scale are ALREADY priced in to the cost of diesels. They simply cost more to make. There is no Santa Claus when it comes to making engines.

If you drive 30 or 40 thousand miles yearly and you pull heavy loads the diesel becomes an attractive option. It has nothing to do with living in the city or being young or any other stuff I've seen here today on this site.

Diesels cost more to make for the same reason aircraft engines cost more to make--it takes highly skilled craftsman and more manhours to build.

No free lunch.

Diesels are still noisier, I don't care what they say, I know the new Jeeps have a noticeable clatter to them.

I don't see why diesel engines cost more to make. Iron is an easier, cheaper material to cast than aluminum. It takes no more skill to assemble a diesel engine on an assembly line than a gas engine. Neither is a DEF or DPF solution. DPF surely costs less than a multiple catalytic converters. DEF is the cost of a tank, pump and injector.

If things were reversed, where diesel was available in every vehicle but gas engines were available in only 10%. You can be sure gas engines would require a premium. If you look at the German brands, diesel engines premiums aren't that big - even though they can amortize their costs over a wider base.

I also don't require my diesel engine last any longer than a gas engine. A couple hundred thousand miles is plenty. I occasionally need a reason to buy a new vehicle.

@hr206

I'm 62. I have many years of experience in manufacturing My stepdad owned a big machine tool business. Our customers were the major auto makers.

We made their tools, we made their parts. Our guys knew more about manufacturing than their guys did. That's my background.

Diesel engines cost more to make. Trust me. It has NOTHING to do with the metal. I don't care if you build 'em out of old beer cans it's not the metal that makes it cost more.

It's the hours of work, specialized tools, tighter tolerances, higher compression ratios, higher-skilled workers, specialized engineering, higher scrap rates.

I can go on, but take my word for it. They cost more to make.

My diesel experience is with pickups but I think most of it would apply to diesel powered cars as well. My current diesel pickup is a 2007.5 Ram 3500 with 105,000 miles on its clean diesel Cummins. The tailpipe on this truck is original and it's cleaner than that of any automobile with a few thousand miles on it. No black smoke from the clean diesel generation, those built on or after 1/1/07.

As for the gentleman who commented about how he can buy a lot of gas for the extra cost of the diesel. That's true but he failed to research and find that most of that extra up front cost you get back at tradein time. Don't believe it, go to Kelly Blue Book or NADA Guides and build any truck that has both gas and diesel options. Price it with each engine separately. I'm talking used trucks. It will probably be the same for cars.

As I said, my diesel experience is with pickups. My diesel pickup gets 40% better mileage, both when towing and when not towing, city and highway, than did a similar pickup with gas engine I used to own. Diesel costs more than gasoline but so long as diesel is less than 40% more in cost, then I'm doing better on fuel cost per mile. Mostly I wanted to comment on the higher trade value of a diesel pickup.

I don't think diesel is for everyone any more than gasoline is for everyone. Suit it to your own needs but don't rule out diesel without at least checking it out.

Papa Jim... you age says it all. We now live in the 21st century. This article isnt about those giant thundering earth moving diesels found in HD trucks. We are talking about 2.5-3.5 liter 4 cylinders, I5's and V6's doing similar work to the light duty gas engines at comparable or only slightly higher prices. Way different story.

Yes a 6.6liter duramax is way more expensive to manufacture and build a truck around hence the 8k option price. This isnt the same comparison. The Ecodiesel fills the gap performance wise between the 5.7l Hemi and Pentastar V6 while getting way better gas mileage, and nearly similar towing/hauling to the Hemi. Now the 5.0L cummins going into the Titan is probably going to be a different story.

Yes common rail diesel engines require more tech and more intensive manufacturing but there is a huge difference between a massive 80ftlbs of torque V8 and these little european diesels.

GM should bring back a new 454. An EcoTech 7.4. As long as it contains the word "Eco" in the name, it will automatically get good fuel economy and negates the need for a diesel option. On a serious note, Ford should offer the diesel-electric power train from the Range Rover in the F150 and Expedition. 45 mpg combined! 335 HP/516 lb-ft, 0-60 in under 7 seconds.

Some of you are saying that modern diesels are quieter and less odorous than several years back. I beg to differ, in fact, several years ago I might have advocated for diesels, but the last two years I seem to be stuck behind the stinkiest diesel trucks I've ever noticed. I don't know if rednecks are modifying them (chips) or what, but I see near new pickups belching black smoke and smelling like @$$.

Diesel will become much more popular in the US.

The cost of a diesel engine vs gas isn't as significant as some would think. When people go out and buy a vehicle they have ''x" amount of dollars to spend.

They will buy a diesel over a V8 if they can walk out of a dealership with a mid spec truck over a high end truck if they deem FE more significant.

When discussing diesel most talk a price, when I'm in the US I don't see everyone driving around in V6 base model pickups. That to indicates pricing is not the only driver in pickup sales.

The cost of diesel fuel also has an impact but not as great as you would think. Diesel here in Australia is at least 10% dearer.

Don't forget I own and operate a Ford 3.2, 5 cylinder Duratorque. City or country driving it doesn't matter.

Also, this article doesn't correspond to articles I have read on diesel take up in the US.

Diesel in the US is 20 year or more behind us in acceptance by the public. The manufacturers will try and captialise on the "new" diesel engines.

Diesels will be as big as gas one day, within ten years or so in the US.

The thorn in the side for diesel in the US is the regulations, protection and subsidisation of the gas refiners and vehicle manufacturers.

No,young people like what most other people like..

Dont know about older smelly Diesel engines,we know newer ones are quieter,not as smelly..

But we also know Diesel engine particulates cause more cancer than a gas engine.Reason Europe has higher rate of cancers,due to higher rate of Diesel vehicles !

Some like Diesels

Some like Powerful Gas Engines and dont like V-6 or 4 cyl..

Some dont care and buy small cars.

Some like newer 4 doors,some newer 2 doors with V-8's !

Some like Suv's !!

Some like old classic cars/trucks !

Its funny,manufacturers,journelists try to pick out a car a teen/twenty something would like and its always a little small car,Chevy Spark,Honda Fit for example..And guess what the majority of buyers of those vehicles are old 50 year old females or guys who are off.

Young people want Cadillacs,Chrysler 300's,Mercedes,Charger's,Challenger's,Mustangs,Camaro's ,VW's RAM Trucks,GM trucks and Ford trucks..But our low income forces us to buy a lower rent car until we earn enough for a decent ride,or if young people are smart like myself buy a low mile few year old luxury car of their liking or truck of their liking.

About Diesels,young people buy VW Diesels,but those are SLOWER then a gas version,as ALL Diesel trucks are slugs compared to the gas versions.Again many dont care,like their elder's but they look at the repair/maint cycle of a Diesel and its 2-4 times as costly as a comparable gas version of same vehicle ! Take it in for oil change 4 times more then a gas engine,any mechanical work a Diesel costs 4 times as much as a gas,that my aging,memory defective elders is the real reason Diesels are DUDS !!

(please dont be offended or try to put new rules/laws that limit free speech because of my TO some offensive language)

@DeverMike/Paul/Tom Lemon/Greg Baird/TRX4Tom/Dave/Hemi V8/Tom Terrific/sandman 4x4/lautenslager/zveria/Bob/US Truck Driver/Glenn/Jason/Hemi Rampage/smartest truck guy/Maxx/SuperDuty37/Ken/Ron/johnny doe/jim/ALL1/Frank/Idahoe Joe/The Guy/AD/Casey/papa jim or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So this will go on.

@DeverMike/Paul/Tom Lemon/Greg Baird/TRX4Tom/Dave/Hemi V8/Tom Terrific/sandman 4x4/lautenslager/zveria/Bob/US Truck Driver/Glenn/Jason/Hemi Rampage/smartest truck guy/Maxx/SuperDuty37/Ken/Ron/johnny doe/jim/ALL1/Frank/Idahoe Joe/The Guy/AD/Casey/papa jim/Young Guy or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So this will go on.

Diesel will become much more popular in the US.

The cost of a diesel engine vs gas isn't as significant as some would think. When people go out and buy a vehicle they have ''x" amount of dollars to spend.

They will buy a diesel over a V8 if they can walk out of a dealership with a mid spec truck over a high end truck if they deem FE more significant.

When discussing diesel most talk a price, when I'm in the US I don't see everyone driving around in V6 base model pickups. That to indicates pricing is not the only driver in pickup sales.

The cost of diesel fuel also has an impact but not as great as you would think. Diesel here in Australia is at least 10% dearer.

Don't forget I own and operate a Ford 3.2, 5 cylinder Duratorque. City or country driving it doesn't matter.

Also, this article doesn't correspond to articles I have read on diesel take up in the US.

Diesel in the US is 20 year or more behind us in acceptance by the public. The manufacturers will try and captialise on the "new" diesel engines.

Diesels will be as big as gas one day, within ten years or so in the US.

The thorn in the side for diesel in the US is the regulations, protection and subsidisation of the gas refiners and vehicle manufacturers.

Diesel's will take off, you watch.

Speaking about the benefits of a diesel has everyone seen the new Miley Cyrus video...smoking hot!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My2FRPA3Gf8




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