The Challenges of Creating the Ram EcoDiesel V6

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2014 Chrysler-Ram EcoDiesel Infographic

It’s a good thing Ram received more than 8,000 orders in four days back in February for its 1500 model with the new EcoDiesel V6. That means the bet it took on an oil-burning, light-duty truck – one on which competitors such as Ford, General Motors and Toyota declined to wager – paid off.

The odds didn’t seem to be in the company’s favor.  Ram had to overcome several challenges:

1) Complying with stringent U.S. on-board diagnostics (OBD) and emissions regulations.

2) Balancing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH); miles per gallon; and the diesel’s capabilities to achieve the best value for customers.

3) Packaging the V6 and its aftertreatment system in a pre-existing vehicle’s architecture.

4) America’s reluctance to embrace diesel engines in pick-ups that aren’t of the heavy-duty variety.

But Ram seems to be raking in the chips now.

Perhaps it’s because of the powerplant’s surprising lack of noise and clatter.  “When you drive the Ram 1500, it’s so quiet you don’t realize it has a diesel engine,” says Luis Cattani, chief engineer of diesel platforms.

Or maybe it’s due to the V6’s 20 city/28 highway/23 combined mpg rating,  the 420 lb-ft of torque,  the 9,200 lbs. of towing capacity, or that it’s found under the hoods of Maseratis.

Whatever the reasons are, the motor’s success creates new challenges: making sure supply keeps pace with demand, and figuring out exactly what kinds of customers are taking the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel home.

via [WardsAutophotos [Ram] and [WardsAuto]

Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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