General Motors is not so keen on matching Ford’s runaway success with its EcoBoost V-6 engine-powered pickups, according to GM North America President Mark Reuss in an interview with Automotive News last week. GM is currently offering pickups powered by V-8 engines, and though downsizing to V-6 power sources like what Ford did is plausible, Reuss said it is not a priority for the company.
While Ford phased out its compact Ranger pickup in 2012 and will only market its full-sized F series pickup, Reuss said GM is still bent on selling mid-sized pick-ups. GM is employing a two-pronged strategy of offering the mid-sized next-generation Colorado alongside the full-sized Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
According to Reuss, full-sized pickup cannot be all things to all customers, since there are drivers -- who rely on their pickups for a living – who do care less about fuel economy.
Reuss said that if GM has to downsize from the V-8 engines to V-6 powerhouses, the company has to substantially cut the pick-up’s weight and likewise downsize the powertrain. But doing that would practically result in creating a mid-sized pickup.
Although Reuss acknowledges Ford’s success with EcoBoost, GM could attract fuel-conscious buyers with a mid-sized Colorado and keep the Silverado and Sierra “as work horses." Reuss did not say that GM will not offer a V-6 turbo as part of its engine lineup for its next generation of pickups, and it would not come as a surprise if the company follows Ford’s lead. There are even speculations that GM is developing a twin turbocharged V-6 engine.
In a statement, Chevrolet Truck Marketing Director Maria Rohrer revealed that the Silverado has long displayed a V8 performance that is dependable while having fuel economy that can compete with the best. She added that by offering a wide range of models, the Silverado has remained to have a strong appeal especially to truck customers.
In fact, sales of this model up to July of this year increased by 7%, she continued. Rohrer also said that for the 2012 model year, the changes implemented would enhance this already capable model and give it that updated design. By including a number of new features like Wi-Fi systems and navigation radio, she added further, it makes driving the new Silverado both enjoyable and convenient.
Indeed, with improvements not only on the look but also on connectivity and appearance, the new Chevrolet Silverado should find it easy to cement its position as the most capable of its class as well as being one that offers a diverse lineup. New additions to the 2012 version include the chrome mesh grille which can complement the chrome surround on both the LT and LS variant or even the body-color surround of the LTZ.
For the LS and the LT, the two now have the lower bumper fascia painted in silver. This part has also been made more aerodynamic, especially on 2WD version that does not have the two hooks. New as well is the aluminum chrome-clad 20-inch wheels. In addition to new designs on the front section, there will be a White Diamond Edition that enhances both comfort and look.
For the LTZ version, Chevrolet will be including the heated/cooled seats. All variants though will come with a new navigation radio. Aside from having an updated screen, a hard drive has been integrated to it, ensuring that there will be no need to use discs that contain map data. Exclusive to the Silverado will be the OnStar and SiriusXM satellite radio.
It will even allow for USB and Bluetooth connectivity with a Wi-Fi system that can be installed by the dealers. Excluding the Hybrid versions, all other Silverado 1500 variants will have the Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control under the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system. With this, Chevrolet hopes it will improve performance across a wide range of driving and trailering scenarios.