By David Undercoffler
11:31 AM PST, February 15, 2013
Diesel fans got a nice Valentine's Day gift from Ram, as the company announced Thursday that it would be making the Ram 1500 pickup available with a diesel engine.
"Truck owners have been emphatically asking for it, and Ram will be the only manufacturer to offer a diesel powertrain in the half-ton segment with the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel," Fred Diaz, chief executive of Ram Truck Brand, said in a statement.
The 3.0-liter V-6 will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Ram's parent company, Chrysler, didn't provide horsepower or torque ratings.
But the EcoDiesel engine is very similar to the one recently announced for the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel. In that application, the oil-burning motor makes 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Expect the Ram's ratings to be a touch higher.
Chrysler said the diesel Ram would go on sale this summer.
The additional engine choice should help the Ram 1500 distinguish itself in an increasingly competitive truck segment. The all-new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks go on sale soon, and Toyota debuted a redesigned Tundra full-size pickup at the Chicago Auto Show in early February.
Ram redesigned its 1500 trucks for 2013, and the effort helped it win the 2013 North American Truck of the Year award.
Yet Ford is still the segment's king, at least in terms of sales. The automaker sold nearly 650,000 trucks in 2012. The Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram lagged far behind with sales of about 420,000 and 300,000, respectively. Despite the gap, each truck is the bestselling vehicle for its automaker.
Chrysler's announcement of the diesel Ram came on the heels of a massive recall the company issued for earlier models of the truck, as well as several sport utility vehicles. The company said it was recalling more than 278,000 vehicles in the U.S. to fix an issue with the rear axle.
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