GM reveals why it dropped plan to build light full-sized pickup trucks

Article by Anita Panait, on January 20, 2012

General Motors had plans to produce a light-duty full-sized pickup, the selling point of which would be its fuel economy. Mark Reuss, GM's president of North America, said at the sidelines of the Detroit Auto Show that the company has studied the economic pick-up extensively and what they determined was that the key to boost fuel economy was "light-weighting," wherein GM will use light materials.

The idea was to manufacture light-duty, full-sized pickup models using weight-reducing materials. GM had the same plan years ago when GM commenced development of its redesigned Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups.

The company, however, dropped the idea due to high material costs and “disappointing” mileage, Reuss said. GM North America’s president said the light-duty pickup will just fall short of the company’s target in terms of potential profit, production effort, cost of materials and actual mileage.

Reuss added that the pick-up’s lightness would reduce its capability, saying that buyers will not risk buying trucks that have duty-cycle issues because they have “to make a living."

Reuss said that from the financial and fuel economy standpoint, it was more sensible to produce a mid-sized pickup, the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado. This planned pickup would also be less competitive than trucks produced by Ford and Ram.

The Chevrolet Silverado cements its leading position as the most capable vehicle with a wide array of models. Plus it boasts a new look as well as improvements in connectivity and comfort characteristics.

There are new designs for the front end, the White Diamond Edition, and the optional heated and cooled seats for the LTZ modes, giving it an improved comfort and look. Meanwhile, you have a new navigation radio that helps expand its connectivity. The new Silverado has an improved screen as well as an embedded hard drive that does away with discs that contain the map data. The Silverado has an exclusive OnStar system that also features Bluetooth, USB connectivity and SiriusXM satellite radio, plus a Wi-Fi system that the dealer installs.

All models of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500s, except for the hybrid models, now have the Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control that are features of the electronic stability control system called StabiliTrak. This system improves the vehicle's performance for different trailering and driving situations.

Chevrolet Truck marketing director Maria Rohrer says that the Silverado is dependable, fuel efficient and offered with a wide variety of models, making it appealing to truck buyers, helping it gain 7% in sales. Rohrer also says that the changes you see in the new Silverado help give the pick up a fresh look while the inclusion of Wi-Fi and navigation systems helps make driving even more enjoyable and convenient.

The redesign and the new elements in the new Silverado include the chrome mesh grille that is matched with different trims.

On the LT and LS models, you have a chrome surround while you have a surround that matches the body color on the LTZ model. The LT and LS models now have a lower bumper fascia in silver. This is a very aerodynamic feature on the two wheel drive models where there are no tow hooks. You also get 20-inch chrome-covered aluminum wheel. All models also now have spare tire lock and cruise control.

Further, buyers can choose from among four new exterior colors: Mocha Steel Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, Graystone, and Carbon Flash Metallic. Meanwhile there is a pair of new color combinations for the inside: Dark and Light Titanium and Dark and Light Cashmere.

Lastly, the LT and LTZ buyers can opt for the White Diamond Edition which features a one-of-a-kind exterior color: white diamond tricoat. It also has chrome door hand, side moldings, and mirror caps. If you get the LTZ models, you can also have the Z60 high-performance suspension package, touring tires, a tow hook, exhaust tip, and 20-inch chrome-covered aluminum wheels.

Topics: gm, pickup truck

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