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In the Race to Be King of the Diesel Trucks, Who's Winning?
For years, Ford has topped the sales charts for diesel trucks. While Ford's Powerstroke engine and Super Duty line have a comfortable lead over the competition, the race for second place is heating up considerably. Currently, Chevy's Silverado holds the silver medal position in diesel truck sales, but Dodge Ram trucks are closing quickly. With more than 8,000 pre-orders in the first three days of availability, according to International Business Times, the new Rams are hot sellers. What's fueling the rise of the Ram?
Many drivers who aren't part of the traditional market for diesel trucks are looking farther afield to find great fuel economy and flexibility. With the energy efficiency of the updated Dodge Cummins EcoDiesel engine, the Ram 1500 promises 28 miles per gallon on the highway. "When a truck's fuel efficiency rivals what some luxury cars deliver, it's going to have broader appeal," says master technician and diesel engine repair specialist Shawn Musgrave of Gem State Diesel, a Boise Idaho area diesel repair shop. "You can use a truck to do just about anything a luxury car or SUV can do, but try getting your car to pull a trailer the way a truck can, and you'll see why more people are looking at diesel."
Reliability is also a significant factor for truck owners, the Boise diesel repair expert adds. "Whether you go with the new EcoDiesel Rams, drive a Silverado with its GMC/Chevy Duramax engine or opt for the most popular choice with a Ford, your diesel engine needs regular maintenance. Diesel engines run hotter than gas-fueled engines, and you can't delay an oil change the way you might be able to with a gas-powered car without a decrease in performance." Dodge truck owners, he says, have been more than willing to talk about the relatively easy maintenance they've had with their trucks.
Aggressive marketing is another reason Dodge trucks are gaining on their Chevrolet competition. "Dodge is doing an exceptional job at giving people what they want," says Musgrave. "That doesn't mean other companies aren't, but when you look at how Dodge has marketed its roomy cabins, air suspension and efficient diesel fuel injection system, you can see why the company's attracting a lot of attention." He's quick to point out that the marketing message isn't just hype: "EcoDiesel represents a welcome jump forward in fuel economy for diesel engines and will help open the diesel market to more buyers."
Ultimately, Musgrave says, how drivers treat their trucks has more to do with the engines' longevity than the brand name. "No matter which of the big three manufacturers you choose, you're going to get a reliable truck if you give it the attention it deserves."