The Truth About Cars » chevrolet silverado The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » chevrolet silverado QOTD: Ram Beats Chevrolet For The First Time Since 1999, GM Gets Pouty Tue, 01 Apr 2014 22:06:20 +0000 2014-RAM-1500-Eco-Diesel-Exterior-001

For the first time since 1999, Ram trucks outsold Chevrolet in a monthly sales period, with Ram edging out the bowtie brand by just 285 trucks.

With 42,532 trucks sold in March, Ram just edged out Chevy’s 42,247 trucks, but lagged Ford, which moved just under 71,000 F-Series trucks.

GM spokesman Jim Cain issued a rather acid-tongued statement to Automotive News, telling the trade paper

“The 1980s called. They want their marketing strategy back…It’s really easy to deeply discount your truck, mine the subprime market and offer cheap lease deals to buy market share.”

Although I am a dubious authority figure when it comes to withholding sharply worded responses, I can’t help but wince when I see this quote by Cain, as well as his other comments about the Chevrolet Colorado rendering other trucks “obsolete”. Clearly, things aren’t going well over in GM’s truck department, but reacting with a response best left for a “deep background” conversation at a Detroit-area watering hole only serves to further telegraph that fact.

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Cain’s Segments: Trucks Redux Tue, 11 Mar 2014 05:47:39 +0000 450x244x2014-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-Exterior-006-450x244.jpg.pagespeed.ic.zAXX8qzO80

February 2014 sales of America’s six continuing full-size pickup lineups grew 1.8%, but GM’s truck twins, the newest trucks on the block, fell 8.9%. Ford, Ram, Toyota, and Nissan combined for an 8.7% year-over-year increase to 94,225 units. The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra’s decline equalled a loss of 4960 units compared with February 2013.

These full-size trucks accounted for 12.2% of the U.S. auto industry’s total February 2014 volume, up slightly from 11.9% in the equivalent period one year earlier.

Although the F-Series’ gain of 2.6% appears slight, this improvement occurred in an auto market which grew not at all. Moreover, a 2.6% increase for the F-Series adds 1393 extra units of a very profitable vehicle, more added sales than the Chevrolet Volt managed in total.

Total Ford brand sales slid more than 7% in February as car volume plunged 16.8% and sales of the Blue Oval’s five utility vehicles dropped 4.3%. Ford’s car division outsold the F-Series by just 1354 units; the F-Series outsold the utility vehicle lineup by 3040 units. 30.5% of the new vehicles sold by the Ford Motor Company last month were F-Series pickups.

At the Chrysler Group, where car sales dropped 14.7% and generated just 29% of the company’s February sales volume, the Ram Pickup range’s 28.4% improvement was more than welcome. And it was also expected. Over the eleven months leading up to February, the average year-over-year Ram P/U sales increase weighed in at 25.5%. From 16.3% in February 2013, Ram’s share of the full-size truck market (extinguished Escalade EXT and Avalanche excluded) rose to 20.2% in February 2014.

Often mocked for its inability to crank out sales like the top-selling Detroit trucks, the Toyota Tundra continues to be a somewhat popular vehicle by conventional automobile standards. Through the first two months of 2014, it ranks 41st among all vehicles in total U.S. sales, having ended 2013 as America’s 43rd-best-selling vehicle. Tundra sales have increased in each of the last five months, but the current pace won’t have Toyota matching 2007’s high-water mark. Toyota could easily sell more than 120,000 Tundras in 2014 – 196,555 were sold in 2007.

Analyzing the Nissan Titan’s market penetration as it begins its eleventh full year without any meaningful refresh is like studying the merits of a veteran linebacker’s knack for sacking in the twilight of his career. The Titan has for the most part become irrelevant, a fact which won’t make the reintroduction process an easy one when the new Titan arrives. Titan sales reached their peak in 2005 at 86,945 units, fell below 20,000 units four years later, and totalled just 15,691 in 2013. Titan volume is down 33.8% this year and February market share in the category fell below 1%.

From a market share-losing perspective, the Chevrolet Silverado’s decline was worse. (Obviously, the Silverado is America’s second-best-selling vehicle. The Titan is not.) 29.2% of the segment’s sales were Silverado-derived at this time last year, but last month, that figure fell to 25.2%. GMC Sierra market share declined by only a hair, from 9.9% in February 2013 to 9.8% last month.

As a whole, the pickup truck segment generated 11% of its February 2014 sales with small/midsize trucks, on par with results from the equivalent period one year earlier. Thank the Nissan Frontier. Sales of the Titan’s little brother shot up 112% to 5791 units.

2 mos.
2 mos.
Ford F-Series
55,882 54,589 + 2.6% 102,418 101,330 + 1.1%
Chevrolet Silverado
36,584 41,643 - 12.1% 65,510 77,088 - 15.0%
Ram P/U
29,303 23,289 + 25.8% 54,374 43,763 + 24.2%
GMC Sierra
14,232 14,133 + 0.7% 25,350 26,979 - 6.0%
Toyota Tundra
7923 7306 + 8.4% 15,813 14,310 + 10.5%
Nissan Titan
1117 1634 - 31.6% 2004 3028 - 33.8%
142,494 + 1.8% 265,469 266,498 - 0.4%


2 mos.
2 mos.
Ford F-Series
38.5% 38.2% 38.6% 38.0%
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
35.0% 39.1% 34.2% 39.0%
Ram P/U
20.2% 16.3% 20.5% 16.4%
Toyota Tundra
5.5% 5.1% 6.0% 5.4%
Nissan Titan
0.8% 1.1% 0.8% 1.1%
Full-Size Share Of
Total Pickup Truck Market
89.0% 87.6% 88.7% 87.2%
Full-Size Pickup Share
Of Total Industry
12.2% 11.9% 12.0% 11.9%
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Cain’s Segments: Trucks In 2013 Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:00:28 +0000 2014-Silverado-02-450x299

The 234,066 extra new truck registrations in 2013 came about despite the loss of 70,077 sales from trucks that had either died off, been discontinued, or were on hiatus in 2013.

Excluding the Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Suzuki Equator, Ford Ranger, and Dodge Dakota from the equation results in a 16.4% year-over-year increase in truck sales.

America’s top-selling vehicle line, the Ford F-Series, owned 35% of the truck market in 2013, up from 33% in 2012. F-Series volume was higher than it’s been since 2006, when nearly 800,000 were sold. (Ford sold more than 900,000 F-Series pickups in 2004 and again in 2005.) In each of the last eight months, Ford sold more than 60,000 copies of the F-Series, a feat Ford had accomplished only three times in the previous 40 months. In fact, Ford sold more than 70,000 F-Series’ at three different junctures in 2013: May, August, and December, the highest-volume month of all.

GM truck sales tanked in December, as the Silverado and Sierra combined for a 13% decline. But the transition period from GMT900 to GMTK2XX didn’t harm GM’s volume in 2013. Joint Silverado/Sierra market share in the whole truck category increased by one percentage point to 31%. 2013 marked a six-year high for the Silverado, although sales haven’t returned to the 2005 glory days when 706,000 were sold. Meanwhile, GMC’s Sierra last topped 2013’s 184,389-unit achievement in 2007, when 204,243 were sold. GMC sold more than 200,000 Sierras annually from 2004 to 2007.

Chrysler’s Ram truck lineup accounted for 20%, or one in five, Chrysler Group sales in 2013, up from 18% in 2012. December’s 11% increase marked the 44th consecutive month in which Ram sales have improved, year-over-year. This many Rams haven’t been sold since 2007. In 2003, 2004, and 2005, Chrysler sold more than 400,000 Ram trucks annually.

America’s leading non-full-size truck, sales of the “midsize” Toyota Tacoma shot up to a six-year high in 2013. (The Tacoma was America’s 14th-best-selling vehicle in 2006; 24th in 2013.) Not often was a small truck sold in 2013 that wasn’t a Tacoma – it owned 65% of the small/midsize truck market, the part that didn’t already belong to the F-Series, Silverado, Ram, Sierra, Tundra, Avalanche, Titan, and Escalade EXT. That’s up from 51% in 2012, when the Colorado and Ranger put up small but meaningful numbers.

Sales of the Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline increased in 2013, at 13% and 26%, respectively. Yet two Tacomas were sold for every one Frontier or Ridgeline. In 2006, the year that the Tacoma became America’s 14th-best-selling vehicle, the Chevrolet Colorado ranked 51st, ahead of the Ford Ranger but 81,475 sales back of the Toyota.

The Frontier-based Suzuki Equator died in 2013. Sales of the dying Chevrolet Avalanche – 15,618 through the first three quarters; just 908 in the fourth quarter – were an afterthought. The Avalanche and its Cadillac sibling, along with the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra and the four big “domestics”, controlled 89% of America’s truck market in 2013, up from 86% in 2012, up from 84% in 2011.

Naturally, this leads to questions regarding the chance for Colorado success in 2014 and 2015. Basing expectations on what we’ve witnessed over the last twelve months, while not pointless, may prove to be lacking a solid foundation.

The truck market, strong as it is, with 14% of the auto industry’s sales, has been in a perpetual state of upheaval. Nameplates are being killed off left, right, and center. The dominant midsize truck isn’t exactly fresh as a daisy. The best-selling truck, Ford’s F-Series, will feature an awful lot of aluminum later this year. There’s now a light-duty diesel option.

There appears to be more than enough evidence to point to a continuation of this trend, the trend that shows potential truck market growth fuelled by full-size trucks. But there are chips up in the air, and with countless variables, we don’t really know where they’ll fall.

Ford F-Series 763,402 645,316 + 18.3%
Chevrolet Silverado 480,414 418,312 + 14.8%
Ram Pickup 355,673 293,363 + 21.2%
GMC Sierra 184,389 157,185 + 17.3%
Toyota Tacoma 159,485 141,365 + 12.8%
Toyota Tundra 112,732 101,621 + 10.9%
Nissan Frontier 62,837 55,435 + 13.4%
Honda Ridgeline 17,723 14,068 + 26.0%
Chevrolet Avalanche 16,526 23,995 - 31.1%
Nissan Titan 15,691 21,576 - 27.3%
Chevrolet Colorado 3412 36,840 - 90.7%
Cadillac Escalade EXT 1972 1934 + 2.0%
GMC Canyon 929 8735 -89.4%
Suzuki Equator 448 1966 - 77.2%
Ford Ranger 19,366 - 100%
Dodge Dakota 490 - 100%
2,175,633 1,941,567 + 12.1%
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GM Offers Incentives On Newly Introduced Pickups. Were They Priced Too High To Begin With? Fri, 04 Oct 2013 15:44:56 +0000
Usually, in the U.S. pickup truck market, whichever company has the newest truck normally gets a bump in sales. While it’s hard to get Chevy guys into Fords and vice versa, about 6% of the market does shift to the most recently updated pickup because of businesses making decisions based on dollars and cents, not brand loyalty.

General Motors has the newest trucks on the block in the 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, but in a growing overall market GM’s pickup trucks last month saw an annual decline in sales. Some analysts say that GM priced their new pickups, a key profit generator for the company, too high. Supply issues with parts for the 5.3 liter V8 have also restricted sales. An analyst at Morgan Stanley, cited by Automotive News, also attributed the September decline to “stair step programs” for dealers and other incentives that were offered in August which pulled sales forward. Now, GM is taking the rare step of offering incentives on recently introduced vehicles, the new pickups, apparently to compete with heavily discounted trucks at Ford and Ram.

Year to year sales of GM’s full size pickup trucks were down 8% in September. The new 2014 models made up 60% of sales as they move out remaining stock of 2013 trucks, which the company says are dwindling. Overall GM sales were down 11%, attributed to slower sales of Chevrolet vehicles and a steep drop in rental-fleet delieveries.

Now GM has told dealers that for October the company will give customers $1,000 cash rebates on the 2014 Silverado, along with $500 in incentives on premium trim packages like the Texas and All Star editions. There is also a “sales manager bonus program” that gives dealers $200 when they sell particular Silverados. Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations, confirmed the incentives to AN.

The early production mix has favored V8 models with more expensive trim and equipment and McNeil said that sales should get better as dealers get more V6 powered trucks and less expensive option packages. Some dealers have complained that after early adopters and loyal GM truck owners bought their trucks when they first came out, the new models have become a harder sell because of the discounts at Ford and Ram.

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Review: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado Mon, 23 Sep 2013 12:00:44 +0000 2014-Silverado-02


Step 1. Put on Fanfare for the Common Man.

Step 2. Light a hand-rolled cigarette. Take a deep drag.

Step 3. Begin reading aloud with as low and gravelly a voice as you can muster.

Your script: Pickup trucks are America. In the vast expanses that make up this country, they feel completely comfortable with their bulk. These are the broad-shouldered blue-collar working class of the vehicular world. Just like the people that drive them, these trucks are alternately unembellished hard workers or rhinestone cowboys. They give of their bodies and brawn to At every disaster, you’ll find trucks. Construction sites, too.


Trucks build things up, break things down, and clear the way. They are the last stand of dominance for the once-muscular North American auto industry.

Okay, that’s enough of that nonsense. American pickup trucks are both deeply loved and uniquely evolved for our landscape and way of life. That doesn’t mean that the dominant domestic automakers can be arrogant and take the sales for granted. We saw how that worked out with cars.

That’s why they bash each other’s brains out with their trucks, swinging the cudgels of ever-increasing tow ratings, powertrain options, or luxury tack shop interiors by Nudie Cohn. When a pickup truck gets
fully redesigned, it’s a big deal, and so it is with the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado.

The recently-launched 2014 Chevrolet Silverado has hit the dealer lots and the press fleets. The short take-away is this: the Silverado is more car-like, very fuel efficient for its class, and has a few little oddities. Those assessments are partly right.


The Silverado is not like a car. It is a truck, and as such, it rides like a truck. A very good-riding truck in the 1500 LT 2WD trim I drove. The frame is stiff, the suspension is well-tuned, and the steering is precise, all pluses. The new hydraulic cab mounts and rack and pinion steering really pay off. Even if the leaf springs on the rear axle aren’t the wispy cloud of compliance that the Ram’s coil springs are, the Silverado has a higher tow rating when equipped just right.

Inside, it is very quiet. So much so that even with your foot deep into the new 5.3 liter Ecotec3 V8, it sounds like someone else’s vehicle is roaring away. The engine sounds great, and it’s very punchy, so hearing more of it would be welcome. The new cab has its doors inset into its sides, lots of high-strength steel and hydroformed structural elements, and it’s shockingly quiet.

Would that the seats were more comfortable for spending long hours. The squishy cloth-upholstered 40/20/40 front bench seat in the Silverado LT I drove was supportive in the you’re-not-on-the-floor sense, but long-haul comfort is lacking, and it made me fidget after a while. Also weird: the steering wheel is offset toward the center of the truck, just like the early Dodge Caravans, and it feels just as strange now.

Despite being a rear-driver, LT trim includes Z71 suspension with Rancho shocks and a locking differential; enough equipment to get you hopelessly stuck should you believe the “off-road suspension” claim Chevy makes for the heavier duty chassis. Machined aluminum wheels, 17-inchers with all-terrain tires, fog lights, chromed bumpers and recovery hooks are standard for the LT, as well. The tailgate that doesn’t slam and integrated bumper steps are nice touches.

There’s now a single cabin design with a dashboard that looks weirder in pictures than in person. This particular truck had the LT Plus Package ($795) and All Star Edition ($1,830) which means some up-fitting. The standard MyLink audio system with its 4.2” LCD gets traded out for an 8” color touchscreen interface that also displays the rear camera’s view, but navigation is still optional. You do get six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service, which can pipe turn by turn navigation instructions into the system. The steering column gets notchy 1970s-grade tilt adjustment, and a separate lever adjusts reach. Other All Star Edition goodies are 18” wheels, interior AC power outlet, remote start, power driver’s seat and climate control. The LT Plus package contributes a power-sliding rear window, rear park assist, power-adjustable pedals and universal remote. None of this stuff helps the Silverado work any harder.


Of course, every Silverado you can currently buy is optioned-up. You can’t even get the standard configuration of new 4.3 liter standard V6 and six-speed Hydramatic yet. Not that the 5.3 liter V8 based on the C7 Corvette engine is any kind of penalty, but it does cost an extra $895. It’s punchy as hell, though, and still spat back 21 miles per gallon in a week of mixed, mostly-highway driving. A four-wheel drive configuration would have probably cost a couple mpg in the same conditions. That’s impressive economy, and it’s likely to get better when an already-in-the-works transmission with more ratios becomes available. The six-speed jumps right to the highest gear it can as fast as it can, so you wind up doing 20 miles an hour with the tachometer near idle before dropping down two gears and moving off smartly,. It’s kind of a herky-jerky way to get down the road.

With a few more useful bits of optioning, a trailer brake controller, chrome runing boards, heated front seats, and moveable tie-downs in the bed, the bottom line came to $40,910. That’s a lot of dough for a truck that still has a long way to go on the options and luxury side of the ledger. It might be just me, but for that kind of debt, I’m going to at least want to be breaking wind on leather and have a navigation system to tell me I’m lost. It’s also a lot of extra crap you don’t need if you’re just looking to get some work out of the truck, in which case the basic W/T configuration is your bogey.

Look at the full-size truck landscape, and it’s clear that right now, the Silverado is on top, though maybe by default. In 1500 trim, it’s more efficient and lighter than the comparable Ram or F-Series. The Ram has a high-quality interior, comfortable ride and willing powertrains. The Silverado is in the fight, though, and it’s a lot lighter on its feet and less thirsty at the gas pump. Both point up how shamefully old and crappy the F-Series cab is, though the rest of that truck is nothing to be trifled with.

Closing the door and shutting out the noise of the jobsite or the stress of meeting those Ag Loan payments and John Deere financial responsibilities during a dust-bowl drought is something the Silverado is very good at. It’ll willingly yank some steers to auction or drag your travel trailer to the KOA campsite for some vacation. The primacy of the pushrod engine in terms of packaging efficiency and durability is a high point, as is the Hydramatic transmission and increased use of aluminum in the chassis to keep weight down.

This is why, for now, the Silverado is on top. When the new F-Series debuts with its aluminum cab and weight loss equal to a trio of morbidly obese Americans (you know, average folk), it might be a different story, but that’s not going to make the Silverado a bad choice overnight.

See, that’s the thing with the full-size pickup field. Just take a scattershot approach and you’ll be fine. You’ll get your work out of the truck. If you’re looking for all the frosting on the cake, then the brand becomes important. While the Silverado can be outfitted that way, it still doesn’t quite measure up to a Nash-Vegas-trimmed Ram. But there’s not a truck on the market right now that blends efficiency, muscle and capability as well as the Silverado, and that’s why it lives up to its big deal billing. For now.

2014-Silverado-01 2014-Silverado-02 2014-Silverado-04 2014-Silverado-05 2014-Silverado-06 2014-Silverado-08 2014-Silverado-09 2014-Silverado-10 2014-Silverado-11 2014-Silverado-12 2014-Silverado-13 ]]> 92
New GM Trucks Will Beat EcoBoost At Towing – But Only With A Special Package Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:58:07 +0000

Remember GM’s boast about how their new trucks could tow a segment best 11,5000 pounds? Turns out there’s a big ol’ asterisk that wasn’t expanded upon. reports that the 11,500 pound tow rating will only happen when a special package is ordered.

The maximum towing capacity for the Silverado and Sierra is 11,500 pounds, but that will be only with trucks outfitted with the max-trailering package (special note: the gross combined weight rating is said to be 17,500 pounds). The highest tow ratings without the max-tow package for regular cabs is 10,200 pounds; for crew cabs it’s 9,700 pounds. And all max-tow package-equipped trucks will be running 3.73:1 ring and pinion gears; 4.10:1 gears will not be offered for 2014.

Despite the slightly misleading claims from GM, Ford’s own site is a convoluted mess of different wheelbase lengths, engines, axle ratios and different towing packages that doesn’t tell nearly the full story either. For now we can say GM has the win in towing capacity, but nobody has the moral high ground in making things clear.

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GM Pickups Get Fuel Economy Figures In 5.3L V8 Configuration Mon, 01 Apr 2013 17:23:24 +0000

GM announced that prices of their new 1500-series trucks would remain flat, while the new 5.3L V8 is estimated to beat Ford’s F-150 Ecoboost in fuel economy and towing capacity.

Silverado and Sierra trucks with the 5.3L engine will apparently return 16/23 mpg city/highway in 2WD and 16/22 in 4WD configuration. The new trucks can also out-tow the Ecoboost F-150 by 200lbs (11,500 lbs versus 11,300 lbs for the Ford) while besting the 5.0L Ford trucks by a full 1,500 lbs.

Until EPA and real-world fuel economy figures are confirmed, we can only report on GM’s estimates. Also worth noting is that fuel economy ratings for the 4.3L V6 and the uprated 6.2L V8 were absent. Pricing for the Silverado will be flat, with the new model selling for the exact same base price as the 2013 versions – but without the very generous discounts that have been available for the last 16 months.

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2014 GM Pickup Interiors Tue, 15 Jan 2013 12:00:14 +0000

GM’s new large pickups might be locked up at NAIAS, but they were wide open at the launch event I attended last month. The event included three presentations: one of both trucks together, then one each from the two marketing teams explaining how their truck was different…by saying pretty much the same thing. Both Chevrolet and GMC truck buyers have perfectly organized garages where you can eat off the floor. People with messy, disorganized garages must buy someone else’s truck.

Both Chevrolet and GMC put a lot of emphasis on the luxury truck buyer (GM can’t quite bring itself to give GMC exclusive rights to this group). My impression was that, despite the stitching embedded in the instrument panel of both trucks, even the GMC interior didn’t look or feel as upscale as that in the top Ford and Ram (a future Denali might help). The surrounds for the center stack and side air vents appear clunky to my eye, and the large rubber-ringed knobs might be work glove-friendly but they neither look nor feel premium.

The thick surround is real aluminum in the GMC but silver plastic in the Chevrolet. Few people will be able to tell the difference. Beyond this, the GMC has red ambient lighting, while the Chevrolet has blue ambient lighting. Apparently these differences are enough to make the new Silverado and Sierra the most differentiated pickups in GM history.

GMC will also offer a sport trim, complete with leather seat bolsters textured to appear woven and red stitching on the seats and instrument panel.

Under the leather GM has sprung for a premium high density foam. To note the difference this makes, just climb into the rear seats. They must use cheaper, lower density foam, as they’re not nearly as firm.

To demonstrate that the traditional pickup buyer hadn’t been entirely forsaken, one pickup with a cloth interior was on hand. I asked what percentage of large pickup buyers frequently use their trucks as trucks. No one on either the Chevrolet or GMC side knew, beyond the surprising (to me at least) fact that only about ten percent of sales are of the two-door regular cab pickup. It’s hard to find out the answer to this question, as no one wants to admit that they don’t use their truck as a truck. And it doesn’t really matter. Even buyers who won’t often (or even ever) come close to using the full capability of these trucks nevertheless insist that this capability be there.

Michael Karesh operates, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

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NAIAS 2013: GM Locks Us Out Of Their New Full-Size Trucks Mon, 14 Jan 2013 15:43:58 +0000

Any hopes of taking a look at the interior of GM’s full-size trucks were dashed, as GM briefly opened the doors up for pictures and then promptly locked them. Come on guys, what have you got to hide? Even Lexus had the doors of the $445,000 LFA Nurburgring Edition opened.

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What Happened To GM’s Hybrid Pickups? Wed, 19 Dec 2012 16:24:40 +0000

One of the most conspicuous absences from GM’s full-size truck reveal was the lack of any hybrid variants. The highly-touted but slow selling hybrid full-size trucks and SUVs were never intended to be the darlings of America’s truck space, but they played an important behind the scenes role for the company.

A hybrid truck may have been as appealing to the average truck buyer as a camouflage tutu, but under the arcane CAFE rules, there were plenty of credits to be had by producing a hybrid truck or large SUV. For the nitty gritty details, a longer summary is available here. For those with an aversion to long, complex explanations of government regulations, let’s just say that the “credits” applied to every hybrid truck or large SUV produced would help a given auto maker reach its CAFE target, because the credits can not only be applied to the trucks themselves, but to other “underperforming vehicles” – or retained for use in later years.

But with GM cutting its R&D budgets, the “two-mode hybrid” system is set to die. In its place is a new Gen V small-block V8 with direct injection, variable valve timing and cylinder-deactivation. Final fuel economy numbers aren’t available yet, but we do know that GM is going at it alone with their “two truck” strategy, offering the large trucks alongside a smaller pickup with superior fuel economy. Unlike Ford and Chrysler, the V6 Silverado/Sierra won’t play such an important role for the General.

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Meet The New GM Trucks, Same As The Old Trucks Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:48:01 +0000

GM revealed its new full-size pickups today, with a combination of “evolutionary” styling and while offering a more traditional pickup, devoid of the fancy turbocharged V6 engines and air suspensions offered in its rivals.

Three powertrains will be offered with the new trucks; a 4.3L V6, a 5.3L V8 and a 6.2L V8, and all three feature direct injection and cylinder deactivation. A six-speed automatic will back up all three engines, with GM estimating a combined 17 mpg for all three trucks. Horsepower and torque specs weren’t released.

New features include a step mounted at the corner of the pickup bed (which features no moving parts and is permanently set into the rear bumper – a rather clever idea), LED lights mounted under the bed and a seat that vibrates to warn the driver of a possible collision (similar to the Cadillac XTS). Inside, an infotainment system similar to Cadillac’s CUE dominates the interior, while rear legroom is said to be improved. GM claims that the switchgear is easier to operate with work gloves on, but presumably those must be removed for the touchscreen system to work.

Next up in GM’s truck salvo; revised versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Unlike Ford and Ram, GM is adopting a two-pronged approach, with the new mid-size trucks being positioned as the choice for mpg-concious buyers. The demise of the Ford Ranger has left GM as the sole domestic player in the small truck market, though the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier will provide the twins with a bit of a challenge.

1. Photo courtesy Automotive News. 2. Photo courtesy Automotive News. 3. Photo courtesy Automotive News. 4. Photo courtesy Automotive News. 5. Photo courtesy Automotive News. 6. Photo courtesy Automotive News. 7. Photo courtesy Automotive News. 8. Photo courtesy Automotive News. PH-121309999. Photo courtesy Automotive News. PH-1213099999. Photo courtesy Automotive News. Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 177
GM To Debut New Full-Size Trucks Thursday Mon, 10 Dec 2012 22:24:43 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

General Motors will give the world their first look at their all-new full-size pickup lineup on Thursday, even as inventories of their current generation trucks continue to pile up.

The next-gen trucks won’t be going on sale until Q2 2013, so consumers will have to wait it out, or buy one of the nearly 140 day supply currently in GM’s inventory. The company has taken a fair amount of criticism for maintaining substantial inventories of their trucks in anticipation of the model changeover and the need to re-tool their truck plants.

 Reuters is reporting that the full-size trucks contribute as much as 60 percent of GM’s overall profits. The launch of the new trucks is as critical the inventory situation is worrying, but to be quite honest, the current GMT900 trucks still remain competitive, as we found out on our test drive of the new Ram 1500.

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Chevrolet Pickups Getting Luxury Trim Level Mon, 24 Sep 2012 12:32:14 +0000

Following in the footsteps of the Ford F-Series multiple luxury times and Ram Laramie, Chevrolet will offer a new luxury trim level for the Silverado – complicating things for GMC, which is positioned as an upscale truck brand.

Automotive News reports that the new Silverado trim, dubbed “High Country”, comes in response to dealer requests for a model that could compete with competitive luxury trucks that costs north of $50,000. Ford has five premium truck trims, with the $44,635 Platinum accounting for 6 percent of F-150 sales. The Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and SVT Raptor models account for a quarter of all F-150 sales, and Chevrolet is understandably eager to capture a slice of the market.

But there’s just one problem; GMC. The brand is supposed to be a more upscale truck lineup, with the Sierra, and the Sierra Denali in particular, as a fancier alternative to the Silverado. The most expensive Silverado currently available, the LTZ, starts at around $43,000, while the Sierra Denali’s base price is $45,460. The possible overlap in product lines hearkens back to pre-bankruptcy General Motors and the often messy demarcations between the different brands. On the other hand, the next generation of pickups gives the Sierra Denali a chance to move further upmarket, with the Silverado filling the void they previously occupied.

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Chart Of The Day: GM Full-Size Truck Inventory, 1/2010 – 8/2012 Thu, 30 Aug 2012 11:59:31 +0000

Only one more day until we get August sales data, and September 4th will bring us the latest inventory numbers. Here at TTAC, we’re keeping an eye on GM’s full-size truck inventory, which is as high as 145 days for the GMC Sierra – well above the 100 day supply that’s considered safe for full-size trucks.

GM has long maintained that they are ramping up truck production to help keep inventories high in advance of the weeks long plant re-tooling to build the next-generation of full-size trucks. The story always truck us as odd; the claimed 21-week idle struck us as awfully long, and the wisdom of stacking ‘em high would almost certainly lead to having to selling cheap, right? We’ve heard the call for incentives before, and now we’re hearing them again.

“My concern would be thatif inventory levels don’t improve, GM will need toraise the incentive level tomove the vehicles,” said Joseph Spak, an auto analyst with RBC Capital Markets LLC. A report in The Detroit News offers a less than flattering assessment.

July incentives on GM’s Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra at $4,200 and $4,800, respectively, were down substantially from the same month a year before, according to But they were higher than incentives Ford Motor Co. offered for the F-150 and what Chrysler Group LLC offered for Ram 1500, says

As the chart above shows (click on it to see a full-size version), inventory levels are not only high now, but they were high at this time last year. Not quite as high as 145 days, but well above the 100 day threshold on a consistent basis that lasted from April to December, with a brief reprive in October. GM is apparently banking on strong sales in Q3 and Q4 2012 to clear up some of the excess truck inventory, with the News stating

Company executives have said they expect to sell down the stockpile of trucks throughout the second half of the year — traditionally a stronger period for truck sales — and have no plans to change production strategy.

Unfortunately for GM, the inventory data paints a different picture. This same time period in 2011 showed consistent inventory levels of 100 days or more, save for a brief downturn in October. 2010 levels were somewhat different. Sierra inventory hovered right around 100 days in August and September, then rose through the year end, while the supply of Silverados was relatively low.

The truck inventory story isn’t new – Ed examined it last year, when it was making headlines even without a plant changeover. Bertel has delved a bit deeper into “channel stuffing” and how the unsold inventory pushed onto dealers can actually count as a “sale” for financial reporting purposes.

The best we can do for now is to keep an eye on inventory and sales levels to see how it all pans out. Or tell me I’m an idiot in the comments.

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GM’s Pickup Truck CNG Conversion Costs $11,000 Wed, 18 Apr 2012 19:50:28 +0000

Compressed natural gas may cost the equivalent of $1.89 per gallon of gasoline, but retrofitting your GMC Sierra or Chevrolet Silverado will cost you $11,000 – and GM still think it will save you money.

According to GM, “…Customers could save $5,000 to $10,000 over a three-year period, depending on their driving habits.” How GM came to this number is a bit of a mystery, and we’re doing some digging to try and figure it out – because it’s a conversion, there is no EPA rating on it and data is difficult to find.

What we did notice was this little tidbit

Businesses are looking for ways to control their costs while reducing vehicle emissions and becoming less dependent on fluctuating gas prices. The low cost of ownership makes these vehicles a realistic solution,” 

$11,000 is a lot of cash for a business to tie up in one truck. In the absence of any data on how many miles it would take to break even (as well as the gas price number used to come up with it), it appears that GM is hoping to sway buyers with the prospect of unstable or rising fuel prices in the future. Emissions are almost certainly a secondary concern. It’s a wonder that GM didn’t promote the fact that CNG can legitimately claim to be a domestically sourced form of clean energy, seeing as they (barely) did back in March.

We contacted GM to try and get more information on the CNG conversion, and more specifically, how they came to their savings figures. Please leave all accusations of anti-GM bias, skulduggery and wrongdoing in the comments section.

EDIT: General Motors says that they calculated the savings based on a truck driving 24,000 miles a year, with gas prices at $4 per gallon and a CNG gallon equivalent of $2. GM’s Mike Jones, Product Manager for Fleet and Commercial Operations, thinks that there will continue to be “…a pretty significant price separation…” between gasoline and CNG.

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Ford Bets On Ecoboost, Chrysler And GM On Natural Gas For Pickups Mon, 12 Mar 2012 20:47:26 +0000

While both General Motors and Chrysler are putting their money on Compressed Natural Gas options for their pickup-truck lineups, Ford is going with pretty much everything but CNG as it examines alternative fuel strategies for future vehicles – and for now, the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 will be the standard bearer for light duty versions of the Ford F-Series.

Automotive News spoke with Ford product development boss Raj Nair, who told the outlet

“Relative to what we’re achieving with EcoBoost and our electrification strategy in the U.S., what we’re achieving with the diesel strategy here in Europe and elsewhere, those are more solid bets to put really solid investments in for mainstream offerings,” 

Nair also cited CNG’s lack of infrastructure as another reason to avoid CNG. But Chrysler’s Ram Tradesman pickup will come in a CNG powered variant, while GM will offer a Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra with a 6.0L V8 that can switch between CNG and regular gasoline.

Buried in the article is a quote from Nair stating that Ford will

“…do conversions for pickups that would allow them to run on natural gas, Nair said. The market for trucks using the technology will be “very dependent on what the regulatory environment is going to be.”

So, Ford is still hedging their bets, and looking to see if this “Made in America” fuel will get the kind of economic incentives that EVs and plug-ins  are privy to. Chrysler and GM will join Honda as the big purveyors of CNG powered cars in the United States – Honda sells the Civic GX in small volumes.

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