Cummins Inc. is eager to bring a light-duty diesel engine to the U.S. market and is looking for an automaker that would commit to buy the engine to install in smaller pickups and SUVs – a key tow vehicle category.

But the Columbus, Ind.-based engine maker won’t say how soon the domestic light-duty diesel engine program could start up. “It could be soon — it could be later. We don’t know at this point. Nothing’s imminent,” said Jon Mills, a Cummins spokesman. “We’re continuing to talk to potential partners.”

The Indianapolis Star reported that Mills noted any decision on moving ahead on a light-duty diesel “would depend on what partner we got.”

Cummins’ search for a buyer for a light-duty diesel comes as it prepares to celebrate the 2 millionth mid-range diesel engine it’s produced for Dodge Ram pickups. Production of that mid-range engine began in 1988 (sized then at 5.9 liters) and the 2 millionth (now 6.7 liters) will roll off a Cummins’ production line in Columbus next month.

Cummins produces a small 2.8 liter diesel engine in China and Australia, but the lightest-duty diesel it makes for U.S. use is the one for Ram, said Mills.

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