The full-size truck market is simply abuzz with the news of a Ram 1500 diesel coming to the light-duty market. Yet, not everyone is sold on this. Ford recently firmly said no to any plans for the F-150. Is this a smart move or a poor decision?
Historically, light-duty trucks had a diesel option. It was only up until the EPA created such a high benchmark for light-duty diesel trucks that they were discontinued. For years, truck buyers have been asking for the option, only to be told the common refrain of “no, it is too expensive and you wouldn’t want to buy it.” This hasn’t sat well with all consumers.
Ram has heard the talk as well and finally decided to give it a shot. Frankly, they were probably the only truck maker willing to gamble on it. The facts are that Ram needs to move some product and they need to increase market share. By offering a product that nobody else does, it seems like they have an advantage. Ram told Edmunds.com basically that.
“It differentiates us in the marketplace,” said Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s U.S. sales chief according to Edmunds.com. “We see it delivering a reasonable payback time, especially when you consider how long the average truck buyer keeps their vehicle. It won’t hurt when it comes to meeting the mileage requirements of CAFE rules either.”
Ford, on the other hand, said no way to a new diesel. They point out, like others have, that the payback time period for a diesel is simply too long for consumers.
“We don’t see the dynamics for an F-150 diesel right now,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president of global product development, according to Edmunds.com. “If you go through the math, your payback is much longer and consumers are smart enough to know that.”
Yet, the new Ram 1500 diesel is projected to have great low-end torque, be an efficient hauler in that class and could have class-leading MPG. Currently, the best F-150 gets 17/23 on the 3.7L V-6. The diesel could get as high as 25 mpg.
This leads to speculation about Ford’s decision. As the leader in the full-size truck market, it seems like they would be very protective of their market share. Is not offering a diesel going to hurt them significantly or will the diesel flop?
What do you think? Is the diesel a game changer or a “one-hit” wonder?