By John Cappa
If there was any doubt about pent-up demand for a light-duty turbo-diesel engine, those questions have been answered. More than 8,000 EcoDiesel-powered 2014 Ram 1500s were ordered by Chrysler Group dealers between Feb. 7 and 10.
According to Automotive News, the figure represents nearly 50 percent of the half-ton pickup's typical monthly production; more than 400 of these pickups have already been sold to customers.
Bob Hegbloom, director of Ram, told Automotive News that the number represents about five times the normal percentage sold for a typical pre-launch vehicle.
"This just helps solidify in our minds that we did the right thing with this truck," Hegbloom said.
Ram President and CEO Reid Bigland had estimated that 30 percent of the Ram 1500 sales could be powered by the EcoDiesel V-6 punching out 240 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque.
Hegbloom added that the percentage of initial half-ton diesel orders is double or triple what brand executives had anticipated. He believes that demand will likely taper off as unsold inventory is received by the dealers. He also mentioned that production priority will be given to pre-sold orders in an effort to minimize customer wait times.
It was almost a year ago that Ram announced the Ram 1500 half-ton diesel, which went into production last month at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant near Detroit. The pre-spec vehicles should be delivered to the dealers in the next three weeks.
To read the Ram press release, click here.