How Jeep and Dodge Trucks Came To Use A GM Diesel Engine

Presently Chrysler-Fiat is promoting its 3.0-liter V6 diesel for its pending Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 pickup due to be launched in a few months, but it has General Motors to thank for underwriting this engine’s development.

Ironically, the ad copy on the Ram truck marketing page proudly states: “The industry’s only light duty diesel. Exclusively from the Ram brand.”

That’s technically correct, but the actual story is the engine is more a GM product. Back in 2007 GM underwrote what Dodge calls “the industry’s only light duty diesel” in Europe by way of a 50-percent stake in VM Motori which is the company that actually built the clean diesel.

This European company began development that year of a 2.9-liter V6 diesel for the Euro-market Cadillac CTS slated for 2009 launch.

Unfortunately for GM, that product was never launched and GM instead faced bankruptcy and restructuring that included Fiat purchasing 50 percent of VM Motori in February 2011. All the while, VM Motori continued development of the diesel first commissioned by GM.

As things stand, Chysler-Fiat inherited the new diesel, saving itself a bundle in R&D costs in the process. It changed some design details, but will otherwise use it to compete against the company that paid the check to bring it into being.

But GM also has the option to use the engine if it chooses. At least this is possible. VM Motori is free to sell the design to others and could conceivably therefore sell it to GM.

No plans however are known for this at the moment, and for now, Chrysler-Fiat is drumming up excitement for the B20-capable, 420-pound-feet clean diesel truck motor that is “Exclusively from the Ram brand.”

Automotive News