A reliable source has told Allpar that diesel Ram 1500s are being assembled for testing, but that production is likely some ways off. The vehicles are not being built on the regular assembly line, indicating that the company is in the initial stages of testing for fit, clearance, initial tuning, and temperature control.
The diesel chosen was not the Cummins V6 or V8 models, which are used by Nissan and the U.S. military and were originally to go into various Rams; instead, it appears that Chrysler is choosing to use the VM 3.0 V6 diesel, which counts as an internal Fiat unit. Chrysler has used VM diesels for many years in its European cars, and the 3-liter V6 is a modern unit that can pass both American and European emissions standards.
Both rear wheel drive and 4×4 versions are being built for testing.
It is likely that the VM was chosen not because it is a Fiat engine, but because it is to be used in other domestic vehicles, most likely including future Grand Cherokees. Using a common engine reduces the number of parts dealers must stock, reduces mechanics’ increasingly high training load, and helps to keep service mechanics and engineers familiar with the design.
While most current European Chryslers (such as Wrangler and Lancia Voyager) use the 2.8 liter VM diesel, some expect them to move to the 3-liter V6 (a completely different engine family) to keep up with increasingly tough emissions standards, especially if diesels are popular in the United States. European and American diesel standards are scheduled to get closer, making it easier to use the same engines in both countries, but also presenting challenges for updating existing engine families.
While no diesel Wrangler is expected for the current generation, a new generation of Wranglers is currently under development, which would be more likely to use the new V6 diesel than the existing powerplant. The Lancia Voyager/Dodge Caravan is also being re-engineered, presenting an opportunity to “re-motorvate.” Diesel engines typically provide around 25-35% greater fuel efficiency, with stronger torque and lower horsepower than similar gasoline engines.