A new formulation is developed for the ignition delay (ID) in diesel engines to account for the effect of piston motion on the global autoignition reaction rates. A differentiation is made between the IDe measured in engines and IDv, measured in constant volume vessels. In addition, a method is presented to determine the coefficients of the IDe correlation from actual engine experimental data. The new formulation for IDe is applied to predict the misfiring cycles during the cold starting of diesel engines at different low ambient temperatures. The predictions are compared with experimental results obtained on a multi-cylinder heavy-duty diesel engine.