Diesel Ram Truck Production Resumes, Report Says

Ram has not yet been authorized to actually sell these trucks.

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There has not yet been a resolution to the EPA's Notice of Violation, nor the Justice Department's lawsuit, against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for excessive diesel emissions from 100,000 vehicles. But Automotive News reports that Ram's production line is now building trucks equipped with FCA's 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine for the first time since last year—at a rate of less than two dozen per shift.

This may seem like putting the bed in front of the cab of the pickup truck, but if the production line workers reporting this are to be believed, it's a sign of optimism that the reworked emissions tech will help put the government's worries to rest. FCA filed for certification to resume sales of light-duty vehicles on May 19, including not only the Ram 1500 but also the Jeep Grand Cherokee, yet that certification has not been issued yet. 

Automotive News suspects that these new diesel Ram 1500s will essentially be on standby to refill dealer stocks quickly once they are allowed to start selling the ones on their lots, anticipating pent-up demand for diesel trucks.

"Subject to the permission of EPA and CARB, FCA US intends to install the same modified emissions software in 2014-2016 MY Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles," said an FCA spokesman, according to Automotive News. "FCA US believes this will address the agencies' concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles." 

FCA's statements toe a fine line between reassurance that a software update will handle any emissions issues and an admission that the issues FCA is accused of existed in the first place. But if it is that simple, and no mechanical parts need to be altered, it will be easy to resume full production once the EPA gives the green light.