Over the years we have heard lots of rumors about this and that. Most of them you can dismiss pretty easily. One rumor that seems to be constantly coming up is that Ram (or Chrysler) is moving away from Cummins.
We have heard this rumor for over a decade on and off. Recently, on CumminsForum.com a member posted a thread saying that his buddy who works at a Cummins branch told him Cummins and Chrysler are no more after 2018.
Such an interesting comment and one that we would normally ignore. But being that he works at Cummins, we had to sit back and think about it a little. Recently, we have started seeing Ram advertise their gas engines more in the ¾ and 1 ton trucks. Their ads basically say there is no reason why a gas engine cannot do everything you need. In fact, I was in a hotel in Oklahoma for a photo shoot the first time I saw the commercial come on. It struck me as quite odd how they positioned their gas offerings.
I dismissed it, remembering the issues they had been having getting the Aisin transmission and moved on with my day. Around that time though, Ram was introducing their new 1500 with their EcoDiesel (not a Cummins). The engine has been very well received and Ram has actually increased their production volumes. (Ram pre-sold all 8,000 initial units in three days.)
About the same time, Nissan announces that they will be offering an all-new 5.0 V8 Cummins. Then, they showed up at the Chicago Auto Show with a 2.8L Cummins powered Frontier.
Shortly after, Toyota announced they will also be offering the 5.0 Cummins. This has been the year of major announcements from vehicle manufacturers announcing partnerships with Cummins.
Could all of this success strengthen Cummins position in the marketplace enough that they would be willing to walk away from Chrysler if they don’t meet their contract terms? We reached out to Cummins to find out more information.
Jon Mills, Director of External Communications for Cummins had this to say, “We have a great 25+ year relationship with Ram Trucks. We’ve produced more than two million engines for use in the 2500/3500 pickups and 3500/4500/5500 chassis cabs and look forward to a bright future.” He had no comment about when the current contract date ended with Ram.
That led us to wondering if maybe the decision would be in Ram’s hands.
OEM’s work pretty far in advance and we could be seeing the initial signs of Chrysler positioning itself away from Cummins. The EcoDiesel is, currently, being offered in the Grand Cherokee and there is a rumor that next year we will see a Jeep Wrangler powered by the EcoDiesel (Chrysler had no comment about this rumor). 2018 is far enough off, that even more non-Cummins diesel powerplants could work their way into Chrysler production vehicles. This would help to disassociate Ram and Cummins, as people could start saying I drive a “X” model with a diesel, instead of I drive a Cummins. The more diesel power plants sitting on dealer lots, the less likely someone is to identify the engine manufacturer and more likely they are to identify the type of engine. Could this be part of Fiat’s grand plan (Fiat acquired Chrysler in 2009)?
The Grand Cherokee already has an EcoDiesel option and the Jeep Wrangler is rumored to be getting one in 2016.
We reached out to Kimberly Shults, who handles the PR for the Southwest Region for FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles). She had this to say, “We certainly deny any such rumor. In fact, we just celebrated 25 years with Cummins and look forward to more shared success.”
Shults went on to point out that 10 million B-series Cummins engines have been produced and a little more than 2 million are within the frame rails of Ram trucks. She continued by pointing out that if their relationship was on the rocks, they wouldn’t be putting Cummins’ logo on the outside of their trucks. Unfortunately, when we asked about the current contract end date, she had to inform us that as a corporate policy, they do not comment on future products or contracts.
So, here lies the issue we have with rumors, especially on the internet; without being able to back up what is being said with documentation, they are just that, rumors on the internet. This certainly is the case with the Ram and Cummins separating. We have been in this industry a long time and we hear this rumor all the time. Even if it were true, anyone who knows would be under a non-disclosure contract and couldn’t say anything. So, those who speculate, are just spreading gossip about things they “think” and positioning them as factual.
We could have easily left out the quotes from the manufacturers and ran this article as it. It would have left many people assuming the rumor is true. Instead, we sat on this article for almost a week until we heard from the both companies. This is the type of documentation that is required to prove or disprove a comment. So, for all your Ram fans out there, don’t worry, a Cummins will still be offered in your beloved truck.