The mild-hybrid, belt-start generator seems to be causing the delay.

Customers looking to buy some 2019 Ram 1500 models are going to have to wait, according to a new report from Automotive News. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has only certified two models of the new pickup truck – the two- and four-wheel-drive versions equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 engine. Models equipped with the 3.6-liter V8 or 5.7-liter V8 with the 48-volt belt-start generator – a mild-hybrid device – are still pending approval nearly five months after production has started. 

“I have customers looking for them and asking about them every week,” one Ram dealer in Michigan told the Detroit publication. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles did not comment on the delay to Automotive News, so it remains unclear why Ram 1500 pickups with the belt-start generator are delayed. The generator is standard on the V6 model and optional on the V8.

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In the wake of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, the EPA is far more stringent on automakers. Previous turtles with the government agency have led to other delays for the automaker. The 2017 and 2018 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel trucks were delayed certification. 

Whatever the cause, the lack of engine choices for the pickup isn’t good news for sales. 

“In the old truck, the V-6 represented about 20 percent of sales,” Dave Sullivan, a senior analyst with AutoPacific, told Automotive News. 

Customers who are looking for efficiency, whether in the form of a V6 or the mild-hybrid V8, could begin to look elsewhere if the EPA doesn’t certify those belt-start generator models soon. Leaving dealerships without inventory is a win for its competitors, especially considering Ram was positioned to knock the Chevy Silverado from second place in terms of pickup truck sales. The plan from Ram would have had the new 2019 DT pickup truck in production and on sale while the company still built and sold the previous DS version with massive discounts. 

However, with the EPA delaying Ram 1500 certification, it looks like the company may have to again take third in sales – at least for this year. 

Source: Automotive News

Gallery: 2019 Ram 1500: First Drive