In 2013, the Ram 1500 diesel was shown as a 2014 model. It’s now expected to enter production in January 2014, making widespread availability in late February 2014.
While the Ram 1500 will probably still be the first modern diesel-powered pickup in its class, and will no doubt have far better fuel economy than gasoline-powered competitors, the delay has been aggravating for buyers looking forward to having a more efficient tow vehicle. Modern diesel engines are responsive, quiet, and efficient, especially under heavy loads, when turbocharged gasoline engines (used by Ford) are at their worst.
The delays, according to one source, stem largely from emissions controls; while the actual percentages of pollutants emitted by warm engines are not a problem for VM, the measurement techniques used by American authorities are tougher and more realistic than European methods. The result was apparently a surprise to VM, which has supplied engines for European Jeep and Chrysler vehicles for decades, and it has taken a long time to get certification. The Jeep diesel was reportedly only approved in October 2013.
VM’s production capabilities may also have been an issue; the company is not geared for American Ram and Jeep volumes. The company is expanding their facilities to meet new demand, and some believe that, if the engines are popular enough, that VM’s parent Fiat might build them using their under-used Italian plants.
The good news is that the pickups are coming, and that they have received nearly universal acclaim from critics.