2011 GMC Sierra HD pickups lead the segment in towing and payload ratings

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 27, 2010

GMC's 2011 Sierra heavy-duty pickups now have increased towing (21,700 pounds) and payload ratings (6,635 pounds). To accomplish the rise in towing capacity, the engineering team tested the Sierra HD over various terrains, grades and weather conditions.

The pickups also received design and lab analysis as well as climatic wind tunnel testing to confirm stable handling and performance of the powertrain, drivetrain and brake components at maximum gross combined weight rating. 

Rick Spina, GM Full-size Truck global vehicle line executive, said that in developing the Sierra HD, it had been focused on providing customers "the most capable heavy-duty trucks in the market" with some premium features and styling.

Spina also revealed that its first set of capability tests confirmed that the team had surpassed the payload and towing targets by a large margin.

Engineers used higher strength steel for the cargo box sills to achieve the increased payload capacity. Extensive testing was done on the vehicles.

To increase the payload capacity of the Sierra HD, the engineering decided to go for higher strength steel as the material for its cargo box sills. To determine the maximum payload, the team conducted a series of tests not just on the cargo box but also on the components of the rear axle.

The results showed that there was a 6,635-pound increase with regards to the maximum payload rating. Spina said that the company is urging its customers to have the Sierra HD undergo a test drive and compare it with other manufacturers.

Due to the testing that was conducted, he added, the company is sure that the Sierra HD will be the better option for real-world towing and hauling needs. The exclusive Denali line will also be offered through the Sierra Denali 2500 and Sierra Denali 3500, a first for GMC.

The difference offered by the Denali variant is that the chrome grill has round air inlets, in addition to the iconic four-bar. It will also have the body color bumpers and the chrome door handles plus chrome highlights.

The aluminum wheels come in three choices: 17-inch, 18-inch, and the 20-inch. The Sierra HD remains to be ahead in its segment as the engine can deliver 397 hp with a maximum torque of 765 lb-ft. In addition to the 6,635 lbs. of maximum payload, it offers 17,000 lbs. of conventional towing and 21,700 lbs. of 5th-wheel towing.

Maximum GCWR is rated to be 29,200 lbs. The Sierra HD will be manufactured at its assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, with production slated to start next week. Customers should expect authorized dealers to feature these heavy-duty trucks soon after that.

Press Release

GMC Sierra HD Leads the Segment in Towing and Payload Ratings

GMC announced today that the new 2011 GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups have increased towing and payload ratings through ongoing development and testing, making them the most capable and powerful heavy-duty pickups in the segment. The ratings have been increased to 21,700 pounds of towing and 6,635 pounds of payload.

“When developing the Sierra HD our focus has consistently been to deliver customers the most capable heavy-duty trucks in the market, along with premium features and styling that distinguish GMC amongst the competition,” said Rick Spina, GM Full-size Truck global vehicle line executive. “Our first set of capability tests confirmed that the team had exceeded the payload and towing targets by a significant margin. Ongoing testing demonstrated a clear opportunity to increase the true capabilities of these trucks.”

The GMC Sierra HD engineering team was able to achieve the increase in towing capacity to 21,700 by putting the Sierra HD through a wide variety of tests over various terrains, grades and weather conditions. Extensive design and lab analysis, climatic wind tunnel testing, and actual on-road extreme ride and handling testing methods were all used to confirm stable handling and performance of the powertrain, drivetrain and brake components at maximum gross combined weight rating (GCWR). The GCWR is increased to 29,200 pounds.

To achieve the increased payload capacity, engineers used higher strength steel for the cargo box sills. The team conducted a significant amount of testing where maximum payloads tested the stronger cargo box and rear axle components. The maximum payload rating has been increased to 6,635 pounds.

“We encourage consumers to test drive the Sierra HD against the competition,” said Spina. “Based on our test results, we are confident our HDs will prove to be the best choice for real-world towing and hauling needs.”

For the first time ever, GMC will be offering the exclusive Denali line in our heavy-duty pickups with the Sierra Denali 2500 and 3500 HDs. The Denali version is distinguished by its iconic four-bar, chrome grille with round air inlets, along with body-color bumpers, chrome door handles, chrome accents and and 17- (Dually), 18- and 20-inch polished forged aluminum wheels.

The GMC Sierra HD is the segment leader in diesel horsepower and torque (397hp, 765

lb-ft), conventional towing (17,000 lbs.), 5th-wheel towing (21,700 lbs.), payload (6,635 lbs.) and maximum GCWR (29,200 lbs.). Production for the Sierra HD begins next week at Flint Assembly in Flint, MI and customers can expect to start seeing the heavy-duty trucks on dealer lots shortly thereafter.

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