Although it's received wide critical acclaim, and recently won our 2014 Truck of the Year competition, the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is taking a little longer to be delivered than originally planned. Automotive News reports that a run of 1000 "pre-spec" versions of the 1/2-ton diesel truck will start production in late January for delivery to dealers in February, likely as demo vehicles.

Ram is still targeting full production of the EcoDiesel in the first quarter of 2014, although the original target on-sale date was in late 2013. Part of the issue could be logistical, as unlike the Pentastar and Hemi gasoline engines, which are sourced from the U.S. and Mexico, the Ram EcoDiesel's 3.0-liter V-6 comes from Italy, and it could be a question of the VM Motori plant tooling up for greater volume. Ram sold a total of 355,673 pickups in 2013. Projections for the take rate on the EcoDiesel range anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent or higher.

Annual production capacity at the Cento plant where the engine is produced is reportedly 90,000 units. Versions of the V-6 diesel are also used in the Maserati Ghibli, the European-spec Chrysler 300 and Lancia Thema, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. If the engine proves a popular option in the Ram and Grand Cherokee, U.S. demand could potentially take the majority of the Cento plant's output.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)