The diesel-powered Ram 1500 pickup truck promises to be a sales hit as Chrysler Group dealers ordered more than 8,000 units of the new model in the first weekend the vehicle was available. That’s nearly half of the light-duty pickup’s normal monthly production.
Orders placed between February 7-10 included more than 400 Ram 1500 diesel trucks that had already been sold to customers. According to Bob Hegbloom, director of the Ram brand, that’s about five times the normal percentage of sold orders for a typical prelaunch vehicle.
“This just helps to solidify in our minds that we did the right thing with this truck,” Hegbloom told AutoNews. Chrysler began production of the pre-spec Ram 1500 EcoDiesel last month at the Warren Assembly plant in suburban Detroit, with the vehicles to be delivered to dealers in the next three weeks.
Hegbloom said the percentage of initial diesel orders by dealers is about double or triple what brand executives had anticipated. Ram brand boss Reid Bigland estimated that diesel versions will make up as many as 30 percent of Ram 1500 sales.
The Ram’s diesel engine is also used by the Jeep Grand Cherokee and is made by Fiat subsidiary VM Motori in Italy. Producing 240 hp and 420 lb-ft (569 Nm) of torque, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission in the Ram 1500.
The RWD version of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is EPA-rated at 28mpg (8.4l/100km) highway, 20mpg (11.8l/100km) city and 23mpg (10.2l/100km) combined. When fitted with AWD, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel returns 27mpg highway, 19mpg city and 22mpg combined.
Prices for the diesel model start from $30,465 ($22,142), including shipping.
By Dan Mihalascu