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Ram 1500 diesel: VM V6 coming

For 2013, Ram brought out a new line of gasoline powertrains, coupling the efficient if expensive eight-speed automatic to the Hemi and Pentastar, while keeping the 4.7 V8 going for another year. The move leapfrogged Ford’s vaunted gas-mileage figures, but they are just the first step in going for the “low running costs” crown.

A Ram 1500 diesel has been rumored for years, along with an F-150 diesel and Silverado 1500 diesel; our contacts told us a new Cummins V-engine had already been fitted into the Ram, tuned, and packaged. It was, in short, ready to go years ago, just awaiting Chrysler’s command, but money suddenly disappeared, then the economy crashed at the end of 2008; at that point truck sales fell, and gas prices plummeted, making a light-duty diesel pickup a much less worthy risk. All the Big Three put entry-level diesel trucks onto the back burner.

Now, with fuel prices and truck sales both back up and a slowly warming economy, a diesel Ram 1500 is starting to make sense again. While Cummins will continue to power bigger Rams, though, reliable source oh2o said that the 1500 is due to get the lighter-duty VM 3-liter V6.

This technologically advanced workhorse is already used by Chrysler in European engines, and has some major advantages over the Cummins to compensate for its major drawback (it’s not a Cummins!). Chrysler will be using it in North America anyway, so training and parts inventories will not be duplicated across two completely different engines (the Cummins V6 is completely different from the Cummins I-6 used in the Ram 2500-5500). The engine will probably become the company’s mainstay for export models, and it’s a known quantity for the company, without many likely surprises; and it’s “in-house,” as VM is owned by Fiat.

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