How Cummins brought diesel to Chrysler to keep them relevant with the other big automakers.
To better understand the value of this relationship between Cummins and Chrysler, we need to better understand the timing of it. Let us take a look at the late 1970s, and the introduction of the diesel engines into mainstream automotive manufacturing.
General Motors was the first to offer a diesel engine back in 1978 with their Oldsmobile 350 Diesel, then a few years later Ford followed suit with their 6.9L V-8 diesel engine, which they acquired from International Harvester. As the other two big automakers in North America started to shift towards offering viable diesel engine options, and as it became popular with car buyers, Chrysler new they had to act.
So they acted, but initially may have acted too quickly, when they acquired their first diesel from Mitsubishi, and like many Asian vehicles at the time, there was zero to little power behind these engines. As we know from the 1980’s if it isn’t fast, and powerful, it isn’t going to appeal to an American audience.
Then came Cummins, and their B-series 6-cylinder engines. It was an instant hit, not just because of their performance, but their brand name “Cummins” just sounded great, and it sang well with a number of diesel truck buyers. The first Cummins engine was added to the RAM pickup line in 1989, this power and performance is very much so the same standards in which current RAM trucks are held to, even those that don’t have Cummins, but instead hold HEMI engines like the ones seen at Bossier RAM.
The relationship began nearly 30 years ago, and this relationship has held strong since then for both Cummins and Chrysler.