Ram EcoDiesel Sales Flagging, Remain Behind Production Rate
According to one WardsAuto columnist, sales of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel remain well behind the engine’s production rate, with only 12 percent of customers choosing the light-duty diesel over the Pentastar V-6 or Hemi V-8. As we reported late last year, Ram Truck announced it would produce one EcoDiesel out of every five Rams, expecting a take rate of 20 percent, but for some reason, those predictions have not come to fruition.
The lack of interest in the EcoDiesel is somewhat surprising given its excellent fuel economy and sterling reputation among critics and owners (ourselves included), but one aspect could be its relatively high price. Many economy-minded customers elect instead for the Ram 1500’s Pentastar 3.6L V-6, which produces 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, compared with the EcoDiesel’s 240 hp and 420 lb-ft. Although customers take a significant torque hit with the Pentastar, they still achieve an estimated 25 mpg highway, at a cost $4,270 less than the torquier and more efficient EcoDiesel.
That price parity may not always pay itself off in fuel savings for some customers, as many “lifestyle” truck owners lease their vehicles and drive fewer than 12,000 miles a year. Especially in times when diesel is more expensive than gasoline, it takes substantially longer than the average duration of a lease to break even when buying an EcoDiesel over a Pentastar V-6.
However, for customers who tow regularly or who cover long stretches of highway on a regular basis, the EcoDiesel makes a lot of sense, as it provides excellent fuel economy that many customers report is even better than its EPA-rated 28 highway mpg. Additionally, the EcoDiesel doesn’t suffer as much of an efficiency penalty when towing as the gas V-6 or V-8.
It could be that not as many customers need the long-haul or towing efficiency the EcoDiesel provides as the higher-ups at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles predicted. It’s a great engine that we at Truck Trend love, but it’s true that it doesn’t make financial sense for every buyer. For its part, Ram Truck still claims that demand for the EcoDiesel is brisk.