By now, the news of the Dodge Ram 1500 being offered with a diesel engine is old news. Yet, Ford hasn’t committed to bringing their own light-duty diesel to the market. What needs to happen in the market to make that happen?
For years now, full-size truck owners have wanted a diesel version of the F-150. The thought has long been that EPA regulations mandated such high equipment costs that it wasn’t feasible for most consumers. Frankly, manufactures had already done the cost-benefit analysis for truck buyers and simply concluded (for them) that it wasn’t a good idea.
Why then would Dodge decide to bring a diesel to the market? Point blank, they NEED to sell trucks. After all these years, Chrysler/Fiat is still struggling to dramatically increase their market share and profits. With quality and durability concerns dogging them, they really needed to do something to energize their brand. That is a big reason why they have started introducing a lot of fancy gizmos and gadgets on their trucks (Active Wheel Shutters, Air Suspension modes, 26-mpg claims, etc…). The truth is that these gizmos have been around for years. They just add to the customers cost with a debatable impact on real-world MPGs.
Where does this leave Ford? Many publications are predicting that if the Ram 1500 diesel sells really well then Ford MUST answer. Not really. The truth is that Ford makes one heck of a truck and their fuel savings from the EcoBoost versus the increased cost of diesel packages most likely far outweigh what drivers might get from a diesel.
It isn’t that they are unprepared though, Ford COO Mark Fields recently told the Detroit News that “we can react very quickly” if diesel demand grows.
At this point, Ford sells so many more trucks than Dodge and GM, the Ram 1500 diesel would have to really push Chrysler’s market share up for Ford to react.
Could we see a 2015 Ford F-150 hit the market? Only if people buy the Ram 1500 diesel. In other words, it isn’t likely.