- The reaction to the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has been so enthusiastic that Chrysler is starting to wonder if it will be able to fill demand.
- "We are capped on how many we can build," said Dave Sowers, who heads Ram Truck's light- and heavy-duty marketing.
- Dealers will start taking orders for the Ram EcoDiesel at the end of the year.
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California — The reaction to the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickup truck has been so enthusiastic that Chrysler is starting to wonder if it will be able to fill demand.
This past June the Chrysler Group announced that the Ram 1500 pickup would be offered with a turbocharged 240-horsepower 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine. This is the first application of a diesel engine in a light-duty pickup truck by any automaker.
Dealers will start taking orders for the Ram EcoDiesel at the end of the year.
"We are capped on how many we can build," Ram's Dave Sowers told Edmunds. "We estimated very conservatively somewhere around a 10-to-15 percent take-rate to start with. We would potentially be limited by our suppliers' ability to deliver engines and transmissions in significantly greater numbers."
Sowers, who heads Ram Truck's light- and heavy-duty marketing, said the reaction to the diesel engine announcement is nearly unparalleled.
"Since we announced this, the level of enthusiasm that we have heard from consumers and consumers via our dealers has been almost unprecedented," Sowers said. "We did not get this many questions about when, where, how, who, when we launched the all-new 2013 (Ram) truck. We are launching an all-new engine and the phone is ringing off the hook, basically."
He was interviewed at a Ram event in California.
Light-duty pickup sales account for about two-thirds of Ram sales, Sowers said. Heavy-duty pickups account for the remaining third.
Last year, Ram sold approximately 293,000 pickups, of which about 194,000 are estimated to be light-duty models. A 10-to-15 percent share would mean Ram is expecting to sell about 19,400 to 29,500 diesel-powered pickups based on last year's sales.
However, Ram sales for the January through August period this year are up 20 percent, suggesting that the diesel engine take-rate could be somewhat higher if the sales pattern continues for the remainder of the year.
Whether Ram could reach the higher target is unclear. Sowers said sales will be limited by engine availability. The diesel engine is assembled by VM Motori in Italy. The company is co-owned by Fiat and General Motors. The automatic transmission was developed by ZF in Germany and is assembled by the Chrysler Group in Kokomo, Indiana. The engine and transmission are used in other Chrysler Group vehicles.
Sowers said the Ram 1500 diesel engine stickers $4,500 above the gasoline-powered V6 engine. Formal pricing has not been announced. The base 2013 Ram 1500 Tradesman starts at $24,195, including a $1,095 destination charge.
"The payback is somewhere between three and four years," depending on the price of fuel and state taxes, Sowers said.
Edmunds says: The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel appears to be a hit even before it arrives in showrooms.