Chrysler Affirms Commitments to Light-Duty Diesel and Hybrid Rams


Slow truck sales, the fact that diesel fuel still costs more than gasoline, and tougher emissions standards driving costs up won’t stop Chrysler from offering a light-duty diesel engine in the Dodge Ram 1500. While Ford and Toyota have put their half-ton diesel efforts on hold, Chrysler is betting its new diesel will deliver new customers.

“It still makes sense to offer a light-duty diesel,” said Frank Klegon, Chrysler’s executive vice president of product development. “We think from the total perspective of the regulatory environment, fuel efficiency and other things down the road, diesel is still going to be an element that’s important in this market, and that customers will be attracted to a diesel light-duty truck.”

Chrysler has partnered with Cummins to develop the new light-duty diesel. The two companies have cooperated since 1988, when they introduced their first diesel for Dodge truck buyers. Cummins builds the 6.7-liter six-cylinder diesel engine for the Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups, and the Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cab trucks.

Klegon said the new engine will have different characteristics than the 6.7-liter heavy-duty motor. Fuel efficiency will be a priority over towing performance (which heavy-duty buyers crave), and it will use a “V” architecture instead of an inline cylinder layout. 

There’s also speculation that the new oil-burner will have a 5.0-liter displacement, from information photographed on an air-conditioning coolant replacement sticker in the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500’s engine compartment.

According to Klegon, Chrysler has no plans to offer the new diesel engine in Ram 2500 and up trucks as an entry-level, heavy-duty oil-burner.

“It will be exclusive to light-duty,” Klegon said. “It fits (in the heavy-duty), but that’s not our plan.”

Gaining new light-duty Dodge Ram customers is critical to the engine’s business case. Klegon said it would be financially challenging if Ram pickup truck owners with gas engines switched to diesel, because higher costs for the diesel powertrain and emissions hardware provide “substantial, positive (profit) margins for new buyers, but they’re less than the margins of gas-powered pickups.”

Klegon also affirmed Chrysler’s commitment to a hybrid version of the Ram, promised for the 2010 model year, even though the company recently canceled its Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hybrid SUVs only two months after production started.

“The Ram Hybrid is still on track,” Klegon said. “We’re excited about applying what we learned from Aspen and Durango (hybrids) to the Ram.”

The Hybrid Ram will arrive before the light-duty diesel, he said.


What's the chances of this engine becoming available in the Dakota as a premium option??

It's not going to happen. Dakota sales are too low to justify the investment and the next-gen Dakota (or whatever it will be called) will likely be much smaller, front-wheel drive and powered by a four-cylinder gas engine. Think M80 concept with an extended cab.

Those points I just mentioned about next-gen Dakota came straight from Frank Klegon yesterday.

As much as I applaud Chrysler for moving forward with these two products, it could be a very dicey decision. Talk to anybody who has recently purchased a 2007 or newer diesel powered pickup, and the first concern is mileage. It's down by 3 to 4 miles per gallon. These diesel particulate filters have sacrificed what was the true selling point for changing to diesel power. And now owners are struggling to maintain these filters because of their driving habits. If Dodge can offer the buying public some assurance that these half tons will provide acceptable mileage (considering the upcharge to buy one), then they may have a home run. As for the hybrid conversion, preliminary tests on full size suv's have shown questionable results. Meaning that if you as a owner drive short distances, you may not see the benefits. Some manufacturers have designed their electronic systems to not activate until the gas engine is fully warmed up. If that's true, then you would have to drive a fair distance to take advantage of it. With the premium to buy the option, where's the ROI? We'll keep our fingers crossed that Chrysler thought through this issue.

news and/or details have been scanty. One clue actually comes from Ford. They are holding off releasing the 2009's until the back-log of 2008's is cleared. HHHmmmppf.
Who would want one of the old ones when the new ones are SO much better? Consumers are holding off buying, 1. because of the economy, yes. 2. Because of all the BETTER promised versions "just around the corner". Problem is that we never seem to turn the corner do we? anybody here remember the 'fuel cells' that were going to power our cars? In just ten short years. That was 1969. In regards to diesel, go here.
The why question keeps popping up again and again. I don't believe for a second that our own engineers are stupid. So that leaves..... $

We seriously need to get on with the business of becoming energy independent. While we are doing the happy dance around the pumps with the lower prices OPEC is planning yet more production cuts and will not quit until they achieve their desired price per barrel. The record high prices this past year have done serious damage to our economy and society. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an eelctric car. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv's instead had plug-in electric drivetrains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.WE must move forward with energy independence. We have the knowledge, we have the technology, what America lacks is a plan. Jeff Wilson has a new book out that is beyond awesome. The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW. He walks you through every aspect of oil, what it is used for besides gas, our depletion of it. The worlds increased need ie 3rd world countries becoming more modernized and consuming more. He explains EVERY alternative energy source and what role they can play to replace oil. His research is backed up with hard data and even includes a time frame and proposed legislative agendas to wean America off oil.

He also has a VERY interesting article posted on the Better Place Blog called How Much Electricity Would It Take To Replace Gasoline you can read it at...

in this adress
you informed about dodge 1980 d200crew ... v8.
i need some information about this kind of dodge but 1978 made.
please help me.

Hey there!

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The reason Dakota sales are down is 1. I cannot find one on dealers lots here in St. Louis. 2. they are 500 lbs to heavy. 3. they have the 3.7 and 4.7 old school engines that get poor gas mileage. Mid-size trucks are to get better gas mileage then full size trucks, and not be able to haul half as much, un-like the Dakota. I would by a Dakota if they would even make it from a uni-body(like the old Comanchee) keep the 4-doors, make it smaller then what it is now, drop in a newer style 4 or v6 like Chevys direct injection motors they are putting in the Equinox this next year. Smaller engines, more HP and better gas mileage. I will never buy a Diesel, it would smell up my garage and have to wear nylon gloves everytime you fill it up and the gas station.

"I will never buy a Diesel, it would smell up my garage and have to wear nylon gloves everytime you fill it up and the gas station"

Are yous serious? I currently own a 2008 diesel and with the new emissions equipment you cannot smell diesel at all. Also, I have never worn gloves to fill up my truck. Do you wear gloves to fill up your gas vehicle, why would you to fill up a diesel vehicle?

Comments like this keep the U.S. from reaping the benefits of increased efficiency and the resultant reduction in oil usage. Although diesel is not as great as electric it is a great alternative to gasoline until battery technology can be improved.

I currently drive a HD Diesel only because a Light Duty diesel is not offered. As soon as one becomes available I will be trading in my HD for a Light Duty truck!

"Also, I have never worn gloves to fill up my truck. Do you wear gloves to fill up your gas vehicle, why would you to fill up a diesel vehicle?"

Diesel tends to leave an oily feeling on your hands, gas just evaporates (all though getting gas on you cloths will burn you pretty bad in direct sunlight and diesel won't).

"Comments like this keep the U.S. from reaping the benefits of increased efficiency and the resultant reduction in oil usage."

No, "green" types adding unnecessary extra emissions controls on engines that already produced fewer emissions while driving up costs and reducing efficiency are what keeps us from reaping the benefits.

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