By on July 29, 2014

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General Motors is advancing the launch of their next-generation pickups by 9 months, with the next-generation trucks due by 2018.

Reuters is reporting that the fairly new generation of full-size trucks will undergo a thorough redesign by 2018, with new full-size SUVs arriving in 2019.

While a new 8-speed automatic will arrive in GM’s full size trucks and SUVs for 2015, the next generation is expected to be even more radical. TTAC has previously reported that the next generation trucks will use substantial amounts of aluminum in the body panels, and a new manufacturing process is expected to reduce both cost and complexity.

The new trucks will also reportedly use a 10-speed automatic transmission (jointly developed with Ford) as well as smaller engines that feature fuel injection, turbocharging and stop-start systems. The end result is a major paradigm shift for the truck market. Consumers may still care about payload and tow ratings, but auto makers are pulling out all the stops to make sure that their trucks meet stringent CAFE rules, which kick in around 2017.

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69 Comments on “General Motors Bumps Up Next Pickups, Will Feature Aluminum Panels, Downsized Engines...”


  • avatar

    Downsized engines? Aluminum panels? Oh, the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair we’ll see today!

  • avatar
    mars3941

    *If you can’t beat em, join em.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    “The new trucks will also reportedly use a 10-speed automatic transmission (jointly developed with Ford)”

    I would assume that transmission will be used in GM and Ford trucks.

    I understand that sharing components and splitting development costs saves a ton of money. In an environment where continuous cost improvement is a requirement, what’s next? Jointly-developed engines? With engines being so key to a truck’s identity, I don’t think that will happen any time soon. I know some serious GM fanboys and I can’t even imagine how they would react to a half-Ford engine under the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Yes, the transmission will be used in both GM and Ford trucks. It seems like it will hit Ford trucks first. Since Ford uses the current 6R80 transmission in the Mustang as well as the F150, look for the 10-speed to go into the Mustang too. GM/Ford are also working on a 9-speed FWD/AWD transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      You’re 12 years too late as GM and Ford started working together in 2002 to develop a 6-speed transaxle found in many of their sedans and crossovers. Ford calls it the 6Fxx and GM calls it the 6Txx. Probably one of the best transaxles Ford has ever had!

      • 0 avatar
        LeMansteve

        TEXN3, I’m aware of the shared transmissions you mention. I’ll bet that the vast majority of those sedan and crossover customers have no idea or don’t care that the transmission was jointly-developed.

        However, with drivetrains being one of the more “highly visible” components on trucks, I think loyal, die-hard truck customers may be sensitive knowing their Chevy shares an important part such as the transmission with a Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      With the increase in gear count, Ford and GM will consult with Shimano.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I don’t care if it’s GM, Ford, RAM, Toyota, Nissan or Isuzu, but whoever has the next 4,200 lb, half ton, quad cab full size pickup truck with a 1.7 liter triple turbocharged 4 cylinder (developing 260hp/275lbs of torque) and 18 speed automatic transmission gets my business!

    • 0 avatar

      I remember GM and Chrysler used A-576 in Cavalier and Neon. The transmission is one of the most anonymous components of the car, so why not.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Not to mention the ZF 6-speeds that went into both GM’s HDs and Ford’s Super Duty up until a few years ago.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    “The new trucks will also reportedly use a 10-speed automatic transmission (jointly developed with Ford) as well as smaller engines that feature fuel injection, turbocharging and stop-start systems. The end result is a major paradigm shift for the truck market.”

    Wouldn’t the soon to go on sale F150 represent the paradigm shift? This is just copying the Ford. Will be interesting to see what the likes of Z71_Silvy have to say. Anyway, seems like an admission of failure on the current truck.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      He’ll still troll every Ford related article with inane nonsense while skipping every GM recall one.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @mkirk – I read a story that indicated GM was looking at aluminum body panels a year before Ford. Great Recession, bankruptcy, mismanagement yada yada yada…………. meant Ford was first out the gate. Ram is reported to be going aluminum around 2018.

      The whole “they are copying me” argument is old and shows a lack of understanding as to how the auto industry design cycle works.

      Focus groups tell them what the public will accept in looks and options, designers apply the corporate face, and engineers have to figure out how to make it all work to a price point set by bean counters.This process tends to be at least a 5 year cycle.

      Z71_Silvy most likely will not show his fetid face because this isn’t a Ford thread.

      I’m sure that “Big Trucks” will be having chest pains upon reading that GM will offer a small turbo engine. “Those #%@#ing liberal *&^%$ tree hugging, $%^&# climate change $#%$^^&$#…….”
      I can hear it all now.

      We will have to ship a defibrillator to his house if TTAC posts news that Chrysler will follow suit.

    • 0 avatar
      Liger

      Why the mention of fuel injection? That has been a standard feature for like 15 years

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    My prediction: you will see increased sales of “2500” series “3/4 ton” pickup trucks among those who intend to use a truck to do more than haul groceries and garden supplies on the weekend. I believe they count in a separate category under CAFE. I’m wondering if this won’t simply collapse the sale of “1500” series trucks into the newly-launched “Colorado” truck, and “half ton” pickup will mean just that in terms of cargo capacity, rather than today’s “half ton” pickup which typically has a cargo capacity of 3/4 to or more.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @DC Bruce – there will be some shifting over to HD’s but GM has not said anything about replacing the 6.0. It is a reliable engine but very thirsty and there are guys that say the old Ford 5.4 would out pull it. My brother isn’t all that impressed with the 3 GM HD’s he’s had with the 6.0 and transmission once you put a big load behind it.

      Ford’s sales would indicate otherwise. They haven’t experienced a huge shift in sales between F150 and F250. Over 1/2 of their sales are EB3.5 engines.

      Other than a small core group of hardcore V8 lovers, people are more concerned with how the engine feels as opposed to how many “inches” it has.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Does Ford still sell the 3 valve V10 in pickups or only F650 and F750?

        I’m honestly shocked that engine is still around, but I’ve seen a fair number of Super Duty pickups that have it so clearly people actually buy the V10.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          The V10 is a torquey SOB. And available on medium duty F450s on up. Plus there’s a lot of backlash against diesels. Hemi 6.4 V8 are now a available on Ram 4500/5500s for the same reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            457 lb ft of torque is not bad at all, I must agree.

            But knowing how the industry is going, the V10 will probably be replaced by a single-turbo 5.0 designed for as much torque as possible or something similar. A 3.5 Ecoboost certainly isn’t going to replace a V10, that’s for sure.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            That and the fact that you can convert the V10 to run on natural gas.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          In addition to the 650 and 750 it is still available in the F450 Cab and Chassis and F550. It is also available or standard in the F53, F59, Full body versions of the E350 as well as the cut away and stripped chassis versions of the E350 and E450. Commercial, who keep a close eye on the real world total cost of ownership, have found that the gas V10 is cheaper overall than a diesel. The V10 is available with the gaseous fuel prep package and many of them are going out the door that way to be upfitted for use with CNG for even lower total cost.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I can see lots of fleet guys, especially in places like Pennsylvania that are rich with the stuff, converting vans and trucks to CNG.

            Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if UPS had CNG-powered trucks either already out on the roads or in development.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @NoGoYo yes UPS has been using CNG trucks in their fleet for a number of years as well as gassers. I don’t think they have bought a diesel powered step van in a couple of years.

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          Not in pickups. Only gasoline engine is 6.2 liter V-8 in the 250 and 350 pickups.

        • 0 avatar
          bigdaddyp

          My company just switched my vehicle from a 2003 f-250 regular cab 5.4l truck to a 2002 f-250 extended cab v-10 and it’s getting better mpg when towing a trailer. I’ve gotten as high as 11.4 mpg with the v-10 when I would struggle to get much above 8.5 mpg with the v8. Biggest problem so far is that I find myself driving about 10 mph faster when on the highway. It’s a shame you can’t get that motor anymore in new Super duties.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Interesting question as to why the 6.0 gas engine continues in the 2500, with the — on paper, at least — superior 6.2 GDI engine from the 1500 available. Lots more horsepower and torque, and better fuel economy. What’s not to like?

        If memory serves, the 2500s with the 6.0 are rated only at 9000 lbs. GVWR vs. 10,000 lbs. GVWR for the 6.6 liter diesel. Tow rating is less, too.

        The Ford EB engine is clearly the most attractive for the 150 pickup. Much better torque curve than the 5.0 V-8, more torque and about the same horsepower. The 6.2 offers more horsepower and torque, but is a real fuel-sucker. Of course, we won’t say too much about the EBs that shut down in high humidity conditions, apparently as a result of condensation in the intercooler. Maybe they’ve fixed that issue by now.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    If they’re going to pull this project ahead, what did they put off?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Me, too!”

    Pulling a project ahead that much could be very costly to quality, and they’ll already be years behind Ford with these changes.

    I’ll bet they’re in full panic mode.

  • avatar
    ppxhbqt

    Wow, fuel injection in pickups. Next thing you know, NASCAR will have it.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    Finally! It was hard living in a world where “Trifecta tune” wasn’t applicable to fullsize GM trucks.

  • avatar
    210delray

    Wow, talk about an accelerated Honda-like product cadence! Remember the longevity of the same basic design full-size GM pickup from 1973-87?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Any truck generation under 10 years shows poor planning and inefficient use of resources. When pushing 20 years, it’s a different story. But with their brand new generation of trucks, GM really stepped on their D!CK!!

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Bingo. A lot of trucks go to workers- WYDOT, farmers, CarQuest Delivery fleet,…

      Or, at least they did. I have a 1987 Chevrolet, and enjoy it. I think ti was the best truck series GM made. It gets the job done well, and doesn’t look too bad to boot.

      Ford’s been using the same basic styling with the Super Duty since 1998 (Albeit, refreshed and tweaked). And, I like it.

      I actually liked the GMT900 trucks. But, why’d they do this!?

      GM screwed up big time on the redesign.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    GM has realized that the 2014 trucks were duds. The Silverado looks like a cross between a GMT900 and 1987 Silverado. The Sierra looks like a mid cycle refresh of the GMT900 Sierra. I like the looks of both trucks but they don’t scream “new”. The same can be said for the new 4.3, 5.3, and 6.2. Sure GM spent a ton of cash on them and changed virtually everything but to the great unwashed hordes, those engines are just one more iteration of the SBC.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “I like the looks of both trucks but they don’t scream “new”. ”

      And the new F Series does?

      Honestly, the new F Series looks like it was styled when the Berlin Wall fell,if we’re speaking truthfully.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @DeadWeight –

        True with a few caveats:
        – Ford has conditioned its loyal fan base to expect a new grill every year or two.
        – The GMT900’s were viewed by many as a disappointment. Releasing trucks that don’t appear to be clearly separate was a mistake.
        – The GMT900’s were never seen as class dominant. These trucks send out the same vibe.

        All of the truck companies know that evolution sells better than revolution. It has to do with our primitive survival instincts of feeling safe and comfortable with the familiar.

        BUT if the memories of what came before are not safe and familiar……. there needs to be a more clear separation.

        Why else would we see GM truck sales suffer. New releases traditionally see sales increases.

        We as vehicle aficionado’s tend to be more aware of the “feelings” that vehicles convey. The GMT900’s didn’t give me a vibe that made me want to buy one. The 2014 Silverado does push many of the right buttons for me but when I look at the overall package, it still doesn’t rank #1 in my books.

        Sales figures would tend to indicate others feel the same way.

        JDPower just released a study about how much owners “like” their vehicles. The F150, F250, F350 had the highest satisfaction rate despite being the oldest.(Reported that “new” always rates higher than “old”)
        Ram rated well only when averaged against cars.

        Where was GM trucks?

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    A late 70s Chevy regular cab pick (GM didn’t offer extended cabs) with an IRON 350 V8, auto, a/c, power steering and brakes, and 4wd probably weighed between 4000-4300 lbs. How much does a new regular cab, with an aluminum V8 weight?

    Some of the mass is due to ‘stuff’ people want, like power windows–all of 8 lbs per door.

    Some is due to the need for a better ride (stiffer, heavier bodies)

    A lot is due to govt safety mandates–air bags, crash beams, etc. They’re nice, and they save lives. On the other hand, all the extra fuel that’s burnt hauling this govt-mandated mass means more exhaust emissions–more health issues for children, the elderly, the allergic–that society ultimately pays for–not to mention, less oil for the future.

    No free lunch.

    I say this becuase I would be really happy if I could go out and buy a 76-79 Chevy pickup that was NEW, with the current 5.3 V8-6 spd auto replacing the 350/turbohydramatic.

    I’d have a useful truck that got close to 20 mpg in mixed driving, and probably an honest 22-24 on the highway (if my 2008 Silverado managed 17 and 20, weighing 5600 lbs). I don’t need–or want–all the other stuff. I can roll my windows (I do want A/C though), tune my radio, and don’t need to have a pointed gun (air bag) in my face, that might possibly go off, or not (I can wear a seat belt, and do).

    And I’d have a nice looking truck!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I say this becuase I would be really happy if I could go out and buy a 76-79 Chevy pickup that was NEW, with the current 5.3 V8-6 spd auto replacing the 350/turbohydramatic.”

      I’ve often thought about doing more of these types of swaps/restomods as a focus, but unfortunately the market is still very small. Turns out most people actually do want all the new creature comforts of the newer models along with the better power, drivability, capability and fuel economy.

      For those that do want it, all the parts can be bought to basically build a brand new 70’s Chev pickup with a modern engine at a reasonable cost.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        A man in our town had a shop redo his 1977 Bonanza. It turned out pretty nice.

        A/C, power steering, 5.3L engine hooked to some auto transmission. Could be worse.

        I’d drive it in a heartbeat. But, I’d probably go with the 2007, though, given the money.

        The older trucks have way more “charm”, but there’s something about well-appointed interiors with leather seats and tilt/telescopic columns that’s nicer than my 1987 Chevy’s painted metal interior, leaky doors, and lack of amenities.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @tomLU86 – how much are you willing to spend?

    http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2010/11/1955-chevy-e-rod-is-a-pickup-from-the-past-we-want-today.html

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Give it some interior stuff (A/C, air bags, …), and find a way to lower the price down to the cost of a new Silverado, and I’d think it would sell pretty well!

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Based on the size and the shape (another brick with a grille) you’ll need a Georgia overdrive to go with those 10 forward gears.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      ♫ I got ten forward gears and a Georgia overdrive. I take little white pills and my eyes are open wide… ♫

      Nyuk. Nyuk. Nyuk.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Another good one:

        “There’d be no truck drivers if it wasn’t for us trucks
        No double clutching gear jammin’ coffee drinking nuts
        They’ll drive their way to glory and they have all the luck
        There’d be no truck drivers if it wasn’t for us trucks.”

  • avatar
    rpol35

    You got it!

  • avatar
    TW5

    The American truck manufacturers have lost the plot. While I appreciate the engineering that goes into aluminum trucks and modern powertrains, the small-block V8 is being casually discarded so the manufacturers can continue selling cod-pieces, rather than work trucks. Turns out men would rather own a codpiece than working vehicle, apparently.

    The manufacturers keep raising the bed height and hood height, then they add an extra foot of aero-molding to the lower valence, which gives these modern monstrosities the same ground-clearance as the smaller, shorter half-tons of yesteryear. We’re all paying to move more frontal area through the air at higher speeds than 20 years ago.

    Senseless.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @TW5 – not really.
      Car companies follow profits not prophets.

      The evolution of pickups started with the demise of the big gas guzzler sedan. EPA rules along with tariffs (cue denvermike and his rebuttal) favoured a shift towards pickup based vehicles. The domestics abandoned cars (to the Japanese) and focused on SUV’s. They then discovered that by adding doors and luxury to pickups a whole new revenue stream opened up. Trucks as commercial work tools provide a limited market base but trucks as velvet Swiss army knives opened the door to millions of new clients.

      The car companies continue with this marketing strategy. Remember the old saying “you can sell a young man’s car to an old man but not an old man’s car to a young man”??

      This applies to trucks except tradesmen will buy both luxury and work trucks but civilians won’t buy work trucks.

      Car companies will shed weight and cylinders to meet CAFE rules but will not make the trucks more plain or smaller. A smaller truck means more stringent EPA rules and less profits and a plain truck means less profits.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Implying that 50%+ of the American automotive tradition isn’t about buying the image…

      It’s capitalism. You (and I’m using “you” generally, not towards TW5 specifically) can’t complain about the same system you (claim to) support.

      EDIT: Okay, yes, you can complain, but only if you have the intentions to improve the system.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        There’s a difference between buying for image and making a fool of yourself. For the most part, we tend to lampoon necks and bros who ramp their trucks to compensate for their lack of manhood. They are rewarded with absurd fuel bills. The half-ton truck market is basically mimicking the idiocy they’ve observed in the under-30 small-penis demographic. It’s been bad for a while, but news from GM about downsized turbocharged engines has taken the segment to a new nadir.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I will wait for the turbo 1.0 liter 3 cylinder aluminum and tin body trucks with a 25 speed automatic made by Shimano that gets 55 miles to the gallon.


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