The latest innovation to fill Ram truck’s prolific pipeline will be a new 2014 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel powered pickup truck, available after production begins in the third quarter of 2013, the truck maker announced last week.
This is on the heels of the Chicago Auto Show introduction of a 2014 Toyota Tundra and LA Auto Show intro of GM’s 2014 Silverado and Sienna late last year, as well as Ford’s Atlas Concept truck (shown first at the Detroit Auto Show) and believed to be a precursor to a major refresh of the F-150 for the 2015 model year. Nissan has also annunced that a replacement for the current Titan is coming, as well. There is no doubt that the full-sized pickup truck segment is hopping, and that the economy is improving and that those who use pickups for work (as well as sportsfolks) are looking to replace their current vehicles.
It is also the right time to think about new 2012 and 2013 model year pickups, since there are apt to be good deals and incentives offered by those who are bring out new 2014 vehicles — GM and Toyota, in particular.
Ram has been rolling right along in the pickup segment
Just as Argo has been a major front runner in the movie awards season, the 2013 Ram 1500 has won virtually every award given for trucks this year — Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year, The North American Truck of the Year announced in cooperation with the North American International Auto Show, and Texas Autowriters Association’s Truck of Texas late last year. Among the reasons cited was the best-in-class fuel economy (25MPG highway) delivered by the Pentastar V-6 engine.
The new diesel was introduced by Fred Diaz, President & CEO for both the Ram Truck brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC., who indicated that “the EcoDiesel in an important part of our strategy to establish Ram as the number one truck brand in Texas”.
The San Antonio native often references his roots and this time was no exception. “Texans will finally have a choice to buy a…truck with an advanced fuel efficent diesel that will…increase our lead for best-in-class fuel economy…I am familiar with the long drive from San Antonio to Dallas or from Houston to the Valley, and the drain that can be on your paycheck”, he explained.
As yet, no one knows if this will be the game changer that Ram expects, but it certainly has the potential. The addition of the 3.0-liter V-6 turbo EcoDiesel mated to an eight-speed TorqueFlight transmission has emissions that are 60-percent below those produced by diesel power trains 25 years ago. The engine is manufactured by VM Motori, a Chrysler Group diesel engine supplier si9nce 1992. It is expected to deliver a combinati9on of best-in-class fuel efficiency, best-in-class torque and excellent payload and tow capability which will be announced closer to production, he said.
It is an area of the market that Chrysler has definitely been focused on. A 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with an EcoDiesel engine is being introduced this year. GM has reportedly been exploring a diesel option for its 2014 pickups (although it is not among the three engines already named for this product). It remains to be seen whether Toyota and Nissan will add diesel to their pickups. As for Ford, its EcoBoost engine remains a major competitor for fuel efficiency and they do have a new 3.2-liter diesel in the recently announced Transit vehicle line, which could undoubtedly be adapted for use in its F-150 pickups if it perceives that the demand is there.
This is all great news for the consumer. When manufacturers compete vigorously with new product, it is a sure thing that there is something to please virtually everyone at every price point.
Since the Ram Diesel 1500 will be available late in 2013, and that Texas is earmarked as a key target market, I expect that Texas automotive journalists will be among the first to experience it.