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Why Is The EPA Delaying The Launch Of The 2019 Ram 1500?

Truck / 17 Comments

Only one engine variant is currently on sale. Two more are coming. Eventually.

Five months ago, the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 full-size pickup truck entered production. However, only two variants have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): rear- and four-wheel drive powered by the familiar 5.7-liter Hemi V8. Still waiting for final approval are the 3.6-liter V6 and the mild-hybrid 5.7-liter V8. What's the reason for the delay? Oddly, neither FCA nor the EPA have commented. Automotive News has learned that Ram dealerships are a bit on edge because of this delay as customers are waiting to make purchases.

"I have customers looking for them and asking about them every week," said one Ram Michigan-based dealer who wishes to remain anonymous. There are some possible reasons for the delays, the first being FCA's own troubled past rushing vehicles to market before they're ready. Remember the 2014 Jeep Cherokee and all of the calibration issues surrounding its then new nine-speed automatic transmission? It was downright embarrassing for the automaker. Another possible cause for the delay are the ongoing issues between FCA and the EPA regarding the latter's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine, which reportedly has faulty emissions.

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In a post-Volkswagen Dieselgate world, there's definitely additional scrutiny for anything diesel. It also shouldn't be ruled out that FCA engineers could still be fine- tuning both engines, specifically the hybrid V8, and neither are technically ready quite yet. Above all, the delays are causing FCA some financial headaches. The original rollout plan for the new Ram 1500, along with the outgoing generation that would continue to be built and offered with big discounts, was to knock out the Chevrolet Silverado from its number two sales slot for full-size trucks, behind the Ford F-150. Without EPA approval for the new 1500's entire powertrain lineup, that goal may no longer be possible, at least for this year.