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.


The Turbo Diesel in the Dodge 1/2 ton Sprinter / Mercedes Van with a 3.0 L Turbo Diesel engine would be great. It's clean, fuel economy, lots of power and its here today. I do not need a Hemi. The Speed limit is 100Kph (55Mph) on the highway anyway and 90% of the time we only have light duty stuff in the back for hauling. Dodge can buy the rights to the 3L Mercedes engine and have in a RAM 1500 in 6 month.
1 great engine (Mercedes 3L) + 1 Great truck (Ram 1500 Less Engine) = WOW Where can I drop of my deposit for this truck?

Dodge and Cummins had an I5 back in 06 planned for the 09 Dodge 1500 and shelved it. I know because I was one of the engineers. I recently bought an old GMC 2500 to pull boat cause no one has offered a 1500 diesel. I had enough saved for 50% down, but no one makes what I want so buy old and deal with repairs. Whoever has the small diesel first is the future of 1/2 ton trucks. Make it no more than a $3000 option and for god sakes give the option of manual or automatic tranny.

I think if they make a V-8 they are trying to get maintence return $$$ out of us down the road. It is not rocket science for them to build a Aluminum block, sleeved smaller inline period. A lot less moving parts!

Dodge, Chrysler - HELLO !!!
If you build it, they will come. In fact, your trucks will fly out of the dealerships!! Do it! Do it now!
Be the first to offer a small diesel option and just WATCH what happens...you'll sell, we'll buy, and everyone will be happy.
YES, it's THAT SIMPLE! Oh my goodness...I hope Chrysler is reading all these posts. There is a demand, now just bring it !!!

Me again...guess what Crysler? IF You don't bring in these smaller diesels, people will just go elsewhere ...maybe to Ford with their EcoBoost engines.
Me, I'd rather have a DIESEL.
We currently have a VW TDI Jetta and Love it. A truck w a small diesel would very nicely round things out!

I have a 01 5.9 cummins diesel and love the milage that I get out of it. I average 18-21mpg and on the last rip I took from NY to NC I averaged 26 mpg on the highway. 675 miles to a tank. Not bad for a 2500 truck. Truck is getting old but when I hear the economy numbers of the new diesels I dont want to give mine up. If they dodge is going to make its 5.0L diesel I would be up for it. But I still think that its a mistake for them to make it a V8 they should build a straight 6 like the 5.9 and the 6.7.

All the talk about dodge using a lighter diesel than the present cummins is probably a given. The question is why use a cummins when fiat owns iveco and iveco is the largest selling diesel in the world and the are ready to go for light trucks or cars. Most farmers who use iveco diesel in their equipment have better luck with iveco than cummins. In conclusion, I believe you will see many diesel products in the Chrysler line up , but they will be Iveco. Anything else wouldn't make sense.

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