Update 1: Chrysler and Cummins Continue to Explore Light-Duty Diesel

Chryler and Cummins Restart Light-Duty Diesel Discussions

Update #1 March-12-2010 09:29 PDT:
Ram spokesman Dave Elshoff said that even though Old Chrysler's light-duty diesel contract with Cummins was voided last year, it's incorrect to say that discussions between the two companies have been restarted. Elshoff said talks continued throughout Chrysler's bankruptcy proceedings and transition to the new Chrysler Group, LLC organization. I've updated the headline to reflect this.

- Mike


Chrysler is talking with Cummins to continue development of an all-new light-duty diesel engine for Ram pickup trucks.

“We’re in discussions with Cummins,” said Joe Veltri, Chrysler vice president of product planning, at the 2010 NTEA Work Truck Show. “There’s no contract [with Cummins] but [a light-duty diesel] is in our plan.”

Chrysler’s light-duty diesel program — rumored to be a 5.0-liter V-8 — has a complex past. In January 2009, we were told the program was postponed until at least 2011. Then in June 2009, a light-duty diesel engine development and manufacturing contract with Cummins was voided as part of Chrysler's Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

Under Chapter 11, Chrysler's assets and liabilities were assigned to two entities: Old Chrysler and New Chrysler. New Chrysler, which partnered with Fiat after emerging from bankruptcy and becoming today’s Chrysler Group LLC, did not assume the light-duty diesel contract, leaving it with the Old Chrysler.

But things appear to be getting back on track.

Veltri said the new oil burner could find a home in both light- and heavy-duty Ram pickups. Cummins has been supplying its diesel engines for Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickups since 1989. Today’s Ram HD Cummins diesel is a 6.7-liter six-cylinder.

“Think about, ‘Could I also put it into a three-quarter-ton truck? Does every guy need a 6.7-liter diesel?’ It could certainly package in a heavy duty,” Veltri said. Both the light-duty diesel and 6.7-liter engine would be offered together in that scenario.

Smaller displacement would mean better fuel economy in both light- and heavy-duty applications, Veltri said.

Chrysler would be unique in the full-size truck segment if it can deliver a light-duty diesel for its customers. GM, Ford and Toyota have indefinitely postponed development of similar programs, citing high engine costs and gasoline engine alternatives.

Veltri agrees that pricing is a challenge, but truck buyers are very familiar with diesel engines.

“The customer really understands diesel technology. The challenge is cost,” Veltri said. “You need to be able to demonstrate to the customer that there’s a benefit. If I can demonstrate lower maintenance costs and [higher] resale value, I can demonstrate a business case. You’re paying for [the diesel] up front. You’re not going to get it back until you sell it.”

A light-duty diesel could also be a quick way for Chrysler to develop fuel-efficient full-size pickups in time to meet aggressive new fuel economy standards that will be phased in between now and 2016. Diesels are up to 30 percent more efficient than gas engines.


Yessssss! Been holding off until one of the big three produces the LT diesel. First to it, gets my money.

Finally, somebody is using their brain. Instead of, say, selling stupid hybrid gas trucks that offer no advantage in highway mileage or towing ability, yet carry a diesel-like price tag and an undiesel-like resale value.

A smaller diesel could be much more cost effective than the 6.7L, as it could find its way into half tons, vans, suvs, and even large cars. With 300hp/500ft-lbs tq it will have plenty of power and torque for the average user, while getting better fuel mileage all around. All in all, I wouldn't be surprised if you find more people ordering HD trucks with the smaller diesel than the larger one if it offers 75% of the capability with 50% of the price.

The truck makers need to just buy an off the shelf diesel if they're going to do this. With all of the schizophrenic starting and stopping of these programs they've done they probably could have paid for the development of a new engine. Just buy an off the shelf from somebody else, then see how it goes. If it takes off, you've got your base to build your own.

Yes Yes Yes! The best news I have heard in all of truckdom since Chrysler started using Cummins in 1988! A 4.2 V6 Cummins in a Wrangler does not sound all that bad neither ;)

The small diesel goes for mpg while the 6.7L goes for the power numbers. Love it!

Engine lineup:
Pentastar V6
Cummins V8
5.7L Hemi V8

5.7L Hemi V8
Cummins V8
6.4L Hemi V8
6.7L Cummins I6

Everyone agree or is that too many for the HD...?

A.J., I think the 6.4L V8 in the HD will replace the 5.7L as the base gas Hemi engine. But it would be nice to have an I6 and a V8 diesel in the HD lineup.

"Fiat, which merged with New Chrysler after that portion of the company emerged from bankruptcy and became today’s Chrysler Group LLC,..."

C'mon Mike. Fiat did not merge with anyone. Fiat Group and Chrysler Group are two separate companies. Fiat was given a 20% equity stake in Chrysler in return for sharing technology, and the Chrysler board of directors installed Marchionne as CEO of Chrysler. The company is still majority-owned by the UAW's benefits trust (55%), and Fiat can not own more than 35% until all outstanding government loans are repaid.

The accurate statement would be: "The new Chrysler Group LLC, partially owned by Fiat and managed by Fiat executives,..."

RoadTrip, anyone can be forgiven for getting confused who owns what with the Chrysler Corporation, Dodge, "Ram is it's own brand now", "Ram is it's own brand but it will always still be a Dodge", DaimlerChrysler, Bankrupt Chrysler, New Chrysler, "New Chrysler That Is 20% Owned By Fiat"

i am against and for this at the same time. the 5.0l diesel v8 is like the turbocharged ecoboost v6, sure you get better gas mileage and more power but you also add expensive parts and if its breaks, makes it not cost effective.

Great news! Hopefully the little cummins makes it to a platform whether the Ram, Nissan, etc. Get'r done...

Suprised Fiat wouldn't push one of their existing diesel engines first.

I find it fascinating how controversial a light duty diesel vehicle is to so many people. I mean, take the Ford 5.4L in the F-150 for example. I don't think I ever heard anyone say that they were satisfied with that engine. Everyone was craving more power, not to mention economy. But with this light duty diesel concept, opinions are all over the board.

@Paul (Second Post in the List):
Great point about the hybrids! They were an awful disappointment.

(different Alex)
I don't mind the 5.4, it has as much torque as every other half-tonne out there. All the power is down low though, where it should be. I agree the fuel economy sucks though. But yeah it sure would be good for Ford to offer the 4.4L diesel in the F-150. heck if they got 28+ mpg (some websites are saying 34mpg by one driver) from the Super Duty media drive day, what would the 4.4L or 5.0 V8 Cummins get in the half ton?

I have been saying this for years. A hybrid will only be good if the electric motor does all the work. None of this 90% big V8 gasoline with a teeny weeny electric motor to help it. It has to be a full series hybrid, like a locomotive. Then you will be seeing over 50-60mpg quite easily, with a crap load of torque at 0rpm!

Yes. I said it before, diesel is the future here as well as europe. A baby Cummins is a dream come true. Go Dodge Ram, use the Cummins and you will rule the LD market. Fiat doing good things for Chrysler. I love it......

I've been a chevy fan my whole life, but if Dodge is going to be the first to offer a light-duty diesel, i'm sold. My next truck will be a Ram.

This would make many people consider a Ram. I hope they make this engine and have a huge success because of it. This is what Chrysler needs to help them.

This is great news, come on dodge build it!!!!


I now have a 2005 Chrysler 300C. A great car but I had been waiting for the diesel model, made by Daimler/Chrysler in Europe, to be imported to the US. Then the big divorce between D & C. That was the end of my plan.
Now, just maybe, a Cummins V-8 can be installed in the 300C making my dream come true. Google 300C diesel and you will get all the info you need on the performance. It is almost as good as the hemi but with a much better fuel economy.
I also drive a Dodge 3500 CTD and love it. My 3rd one.

The engine is already developed. It's a V8 that gets 25mpg. There was a v6 for dakota/durango too that was closet to 30 mpg. That'd be your Jeep Wrangler option. A ram will be my next truck if they do the half ton V8. It may spark GM to come with the 4.5L V8 Duramax. Ford will be last b/c they don't want to hurt Super Duty sales.

If this is in the engine bay by 2012 my 08 might be out the door.

Build it, and they will come!! Heck, I'll be the first in line. Imagine a 1/2 ton that will tow like no ones business and then knock down 25mpg on the highway. Whatever company does this first is going to slap themselves for not doing it sooner. IT WILL BE A GOLDMINE FOR THEM!!!

if they do it dodge would be #1 half ton in american!!


For this to be successful, the diesel needs to be available in all models. I was very interested in the diesel Grand Cherokee. But its only available in full load trim. Way out of my price range. But we can't keep them on the lot at my dealership. Even at the high prices. A diesel 1/2 ton for a reasonable price would be huge for Chrysler. Given their current financial problems, I don't know how they can afford not to sell this. Time to bet the farm.

Best news I have heard in over a year. If Ram is thinking about it then Ford and GM will also get back into it. I'm holding out.

why should fiat allow chrysler to use cummins diesel whey they have iveco?
coming to your neighborhood, iveco powered ram trucks.
heh heh heh

Lou, What are your thoughts on Fiat Italian owned diesels?

Ford will be first in the medumduty segment with a debute of the long awaited 4.4-litre V8 diesel this summer. It will be produced at the Chihuahua-plant and is intially ment just for LandRovers. BUT the debute in F-150 might be close.

There is a God. All of the Big 3 make a great diesel, and whoever comes to market with an application for the light-duty crowd will be getting sales the other two will be drooling over. IMHO whoever comes to market first will probably take some sales away from another manufacturer just based on a more 'everyday' package available now that fits more peoples needs.

Separate subect - maybe it's me, but why does the CARB want to continually impose new and stricter emissions requirements on not only ICE powerplants but diesels as well? I'd hate to think all this goes back to that Nobel Peace Prize winning ex-vice-president's 60 minute video that gave the kool aid drinkers (what they thought) was ammunition to start controlling global vehicle emissions...and now the inmates are running the asylum!

How's that old saying go, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!"

I am going to buy another half ton when I wear out the one that I have. BUT...I would declare it worn out today if there were a half ton deisel available. I can only scratch my head and wonder why the decision makers at the big 3 can't see the market for this.

@ Hoodman –

CARB has issued a “discussion paper” (http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/levprog/leviii/meetings/030210/lev_iii_discussion_paper_2-10.pdf) highlighting its preliminary proposal for the next iteration of California’s “Low Emission Vehicle” (LEV) regulations (LEV III). The CARB staff is proposing to require vehicle fleets to AVERAGE the current (LEV II) SULEV emission category.

Comments are invited in the discussion paper (top of page 2). I have already submitted my comments to CARB urging it to close what appears to be a regulatory “loophole” for gasoline-fueled vehicles by instead of regulating exhaust hydrocarbon emissions separately from evaporative hydrocarbon emissions (VOCs) as is done in the current regulations (LEV II), combining those HC emissions into one standard (or incorporating the VOC emissions into the HC+NOx standard which the CARB staff is proposing in the discussion paper). Diesel/biodiesel fuel is essentially nonvolatile, so vehicle VOC emissions are not an issue with diesel-fueled vehicles. VOC emissions are at least as problematic as exhaust hydrocarbon emissions (or NOx emissions for that matter) from an air quality (“smog”) perspective.

Anyone who believes the emission standards need to be changed should submit comments to CARB. The point-of-contact given is Paul Hughes, (626) 575-6977, phughes@arb.ca.gov .

Patrick has it right. You want our money, come and get it. Small displacement diesel is required by the us 150 / 1500 truck market. We all know that.

Chrysler, finally! Some irreverence!! It will save you! Now if Ford were to do the same, then you’re in trouble because we all would take a non-bailout mobile of a bailout mobile. Americans have principles!

See you in a dealership this fall for a light duty diesel. That or I put it in myself!


If i could memorize your incredible details and spout it off like gospel, my family would faint and my friends would think i'm taking an acid trip or something!

Great response and it educates us all. Now only if our California legislators (who feel the need to dictate the emissions standards for all) could be so enlightened.

If they took a test drive in a Jetta TDI i think they'd change their mind in a hurry...big thx again!

Unless they switch back to leaf springs and get rid of the IRS we wont gain any towing. The hemi can pull way more than the rear suspension will allow. I see squating dodges allover that are having no problem geting up to speed. With this deisel we will have a really good sounding grocery getter. And going from 18 to 25 but increasing the price of fuel by up to a dollar doesnt really gain much.

They still have a live rear axle but it's coil sprung which is the letdown for payload.

Put 2.5 or 3.0 L diesel in Dakota or other trucks for us people the want increase in MPG. I drove Hilux diesel in service and great great mileage. Frack the mid east oil producers that use our money to kill our troops and support terror. Time to also look at solar / wind. My view.

@ Hoodman –

Just to illustrate the point I was trying to make, the CARB certifies the 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid as “SULEV”, the “cleanest” emission category currently available under LEV II - http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onroad/cert/pcldtmdv/2010/toyota_ldt_a0140668_3d3_s2_hevge.pdf . According to that cert sheet, the SULEV standards (STD) are 0.010 grams/mile for exhaust non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC/NMOG), 1.0 g/mi for CO, 0.02 g/mi for NOx, and 0.01 g/mi particulate matter (PM) emissions. There are also “supplemental” standards for NMHC+NOx and CO in the US06 and SC03 test cycles.

However, associated with gasoline-fueled vehicles, ON TOP OF THE EXHAUST EMISSIONS, are “two-day/three-day evaporative” (2-D, 3-D) emission standards of 0.75 g/test (these are evaporative VOC emissions while a vehicle is “parked” in a driveway, parking lot or garage not running), 0.05 g/mi “running loss” (RL – VOC emissions while the vehicle is running), and 0.20 g/gallon “ORVR” (evaporative emissions while refueling the vehicle).

So just taking the “running loss” evaporative VOC emissions, a gasoline-fueled vehicle COULD emit as much as 0.010 g/mi hydrocarbon emissions from the exhaust AND 0.05 g/mi evaporative VOC emissions while running down the road for a total of 0.06 g/mi hydrocarbon emissions and still be certified SULEV! And this doesn’t even take into account the VOC emissions while the vehicle is “sitting” in a driveway or parking lot (2-D/3-D) or the evaporative VOC emissions while refueling (ORVR). On top of these, there are “upstream” VOC emissions from the storage, distribution and handling of gasoline (amounts to about 3 grams/gallon of gasoline per EPA data). Notice these emission factors are much higher than the exhaust standards. Again diesel fuel is essentially nonvolatile and thus has none of these VOC emissions.

These emission regs have been a point of contention with me as an air quality professional in that they – intentional or not – inherently favor gasoline-fueled vehicles and disfavor diesel-fueled vehicles without any environmental benefit whatsoever (and arguably a disbenefit). Even though technology has permitted diesels to meet these draconian regulations, at the very least it increases the cost significantly. Does anyone really think that it is an effective strategy for a regulatory agency responsible for improving air quality to encourage higher hydrocarbon emissions?


Hadn't heard of evaporative emission standards. I think we're so used to seeing ULEV and SULEV on a lot of vehicles nowadays it doesn't have the same punch it used to when (i think) Honda first started advertising it.

Do the standards mentioned above apply as well for the diesel medium and heavy duty truck applications, such as 18wheel rigs, and even for the railroad/locomotive industry as well?

It must be maddening for Federal and International regulatory agencies to abide by CARB. And silly me thought CAFE laws would drive automanufacturers to drink!

That's a lot to digest, but how can one argue with fact?

SWEET!! Though, I would always buy the biggest truck and diesel engine available when buying a truck I love that a light-duty diesel could be avaliable!!

Ive never seen a diesel vehicle I didnt love, so this just means for variety and something new to play with!

Hope it all works out!!

What about GM's 4.5L Duramax and Ford's 4.4L light-duty diesel?

I have sworn off Dodge unless-Do it Dodge if you want to be number one!Make us excited again-Kevin

@ Bobsled. The Ram doesn't have IRS. They have a solid axel in the rear with a coil suspention.

Would this boost towing, no. But I don't think it is suppose to. The Ram already tows 10,500lbs. More then anybody should be towing in a halfer. This would be the best idea to boost MPG by about 20% though.

I've heard that the Iveco diesel engines are very good. They have a great reputation in Europe and the rest of the world but are unknown in North America. Even though Iveco diesels are good engines, the lack of familiarity with N.A. customers would hurt Dodge too much. Dodge cannot afford to loose anymore sales. Americans have a tendancy to look down on foriegn products. I am very surprised by the 22% drop in sales in the US. Dodge should stick with Cummins for brand recognition/reputation alone. A Cummins "lite" for 1/2 ton and light duty 3/4 tons would be a great addition for Dodge but i would depend on the price point. HD guys have gotten used to forking over big cash for p/u's. I/2 ton buyers are more price sensitive.
I don't buy the comment by the Dodge Exec : quote" If I can demonstrate lower maintenance costs and [higher] resale value, I can demonstrate a business case. You’re paying for [the diesel] up front. You’re not going to get it back until you sell it.”
If you pay more money up front to buy any vehicle, the resale is usually higher as well. There would need to be a substantial improvement in MPG to actually see a break even point. A diesel in a 1/2 ton would have to post MPG figures. Those figures should come with a payback calculation. Same goes for hybrids, and plug ins.


The federal Tier 2 and California LEV II regulations apply only to light-duty vehicles (generally <8,500 GCW).

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles have their own set of standards (federal), the most recent iteration of which went into effect January 2010 (NOx emissions reduced to 0.2 grams/hp-hr). Locomotives, off-road equipment, etc., have their own set of emission standards.

Not saying that diesel engines in general shouldn't have increasingly stricter emissions standards, but the approach the regulators are using for light-duty vehicles is misguided, in my opinion, for the reasons I've given previously.

Although I've seen talk about this combination of the Dodge 1500 and the 5.0L diesel getting 25 Mpg. Remember due to the inherently more efficient nature of the diesel engine, you will not have near the Mpg drop off in the city Mpg. Should be more in the 20 - 22 Mpg for the city cycle. And if you put any load on the truck, say 1000 lbs plus, your Mpg won't even drop near what it would with a gasser.

JW: check out: http://www.mpgomatic.com/2008/03/15/35-mpg-why-wait-until-2020/
The 300C you want is made here, not overseas, your just not allowed to buy one. Thank California, more specifically CARB which HATES diesel, all diesel.
I say lock the gate; Let them keep all their fruits and nuts, illegals, and CARB regs. Let the rest of America prosper, they had their chance, now let them sink. Without infecting the rest of us!

Wow, those Chrysler vehicle diesels are impressive, particularly the Wrangler!

For the love of God almighty, please Chrysler release this 1/2 ton with the Cummins V8 diesel! I'm willing to pay the $5000 likely premium to gain the torque, driveability and economy of this beast. The only downside I see is that the economy numbers won't be what they were from those tests of the 4.2 and 5.6 engines a few years back, as the new 2010 compliant engines will have a DPF. Still, we should see 20 mpg highway easy and all the torque that anyone would need in a 1/2 ton!

I've been waiting on this truck for a couple of years now, as I'm sick of my '05 Hemi with its lack of torque and the 5 speed auto. If this doesn't unfold, I'll likely be buying an '11 F150 with the Ecoboost engine, which has huge potential IMO.

All I can say is, build it, build it, build it, build it, build it, build it! The Dept of Energy and Cummins are in love with this v6 and v8 diesel engine. The numbers are very good and getting better according to Chris Land from Cummins. Definitely mate a 6 or 7 speed auto tranny and you've got path to market.

Did Chrysler not get anything from the brief mind-meld with Daimler Benz? Mercedes -Benz is a key developer, builder and marketer of the light, clean diesel. I challenge our highly touted Chrysler engineers to take the small V-6 continuous direct-injection diesel (MB 320CDI ) and FOCUS on high mileage for the 90% driving time without load of a typical Ram 1500 owner, instead of ridiculous torque profiles that hardly anyone actually uses. Same for the Heavy Duty 2500 typical drivers – maybe the crossing point is the 3500 – you need or want the earth-moving 600 Lb-feet torque, you up-size to the 3500 and the 6.7 Cummins I6, and pay the price for the privilege. Most of us want efficient, long lasting, reliable transportation, with an occasional need to haul some stuff a short distance. Clean diesel technology is a right-now solution. Hello Chrysler – anybody home?

Gassers in big trucks make so little sense. I so wish GM would have finished that 4.5 TDI for their 1500s. A 5.0 is still way more than I would need...why didn't they just put that 3.0 Mercedes TDI out of the jeep in the Ram or Dakota even when they had the chance? That motor lets the ML tow 7500, that's more than enough for most 1500 owners.

Chrysler needs to explore profitability, explore increasing sales, explore quality, explore reliability, explore making pickups in the USA.......

A baby Cummins Ram would be fantastic. My V8 Tundra would be out the door so fast it wouldn't know what hit it.

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