- Ford says the payback time for a diesel F-150 is too long.
- Chrysler says the Ram 1500 diesel will give it a competitive advantage in the light-duty truck market.
- Cummins is developing a four-cylinder diesel that may be used in the 2015 Nissan Titan.
DEARBORN, Michigan — Ford officials, speaking at a press event at the company's development center, said there are no plans to build a diesel-powered F-150 anytime soon.
"We don't see the dynamics for an F-150 diesel right now," said Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development. "If you go through the math, your payback is much longer and consumers are smart enough to know that."
The most fuel-efficient Ford F-150 is currently the 3.7-liter V6 model with 17 city/23 highway mpg.
In Auburn Hills, the thinking is much different. Chrysler reaffirmed its plans to sell a diesel-powered Ram 1500, and company officials told Edmunds that it makes perfect sense to them.
"It differentiates us in the marketplace," said Reid Bigland, Chrysler's U.S. sales chief. "We see it delivering a reasonable payback time, especially when you consider how long the average truck buyer keeps their vehicle. It won't hurt when it comes to meeting the mileage requirements of CAFE rules either."
The most fuel-efficient Ram truck is currently the 1500 with the 3.6-liter V6. It's rated at 17 city/25 highway mpg. No official mileage figures have been released for the Ram 1500 diesel, but Ram officials say it will exceed the fuel economy numbers of the gasoline V6.The 3.0-liter diesel V6 will cost roughly $2,800 more than a similarly equipped Ram with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
Chrysler isn't the only company considering a light-duty, full-size diesel truck. Nissan is currently working on a program with Cummins to develop a four-cylinder diesel power plant for Nissan's upcoming redesign of its full-size Titan pickup.
Initial testing of the Cummins' 2.8-liter, four-cylinder diesel was aimed at delivering 210 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0-liter V6 that will be offered in the Ram 1500 is rated to produce 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.
Edmunds says: Ford is betting that consumers will do the math, while Chrysler thinks Ram buyers are more likely to pay up for an enticing combination of power and efficiency. In the end, the price of diesel fuel versus gasoline may end up being the determining factor.