The Truth About Cars » gmc sierra http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (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 » gmc sierra http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Cain’s Segments: Trucks In 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/cains-segments-trucks-in-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/cains-segments-trucks-in-2013/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=694169 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.

Rank
Truck
2013
2012
%
Change
#1
Ford F-Series 763,402 645,316 + 18.3%
#2
Chevrolet Silverado 480,414 418,312 + 14.8%
#3
Ram Pickup 355,673 293,363 + 21.2%
#4
GMC Sierra 184,389 157,185 + 17.3%
#5
Toyota Tacoma 159,485 141,365 + 12.8%
#6
Toyota Tundra 112,732 101,621 + 10.9%
#7
Nissan Frontier 62,837 55,435 + 13.4%
#8
Honda Ridgeline 17,723 14,068 + 26.0%
#9
Chevrolet Avalanche 16,526 23,995 - 31.1%
#10
Nissan Titan 15,691 21,576 - 27.3%
#11
Chevrolet Colorado 3412 36,840 - 90.7%
#12
Cadillac Escalade EXT 1972 1934 + 2.0%
#13
GMC Canyon 929 8735 -89.4%
#14
Suzuki Equator 448 1966 - 77.2%
Ford Ranger 19,366 - 100%
Dodge Dakota 490 - 100%
Total
2,175,633 1,941,567 + 12.1%
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Review: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/review-2014-chevrolet-silverado-1500-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/review-2014-chevrolet-silverado-1500-with-video/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 15:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=649338 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior, Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

I’ve never cared for the phrase “as American as apple pie” as apple pie is far from an American invention. Instead, we should say as “American as the pickup truck.” In 1925 Ford crafted the “Ford Model T Runabout with Pickup Body” and America’s love affair began. The Chevrolet Silverado, and its mechanical twin the GMC Sierra, may not be the best-selling vehicle in America (that award goes to the aging Ford F-150) but the Chevy alone has outsold the Toyota Camry by 55,000 units this year. Toss in the Sierra and there are more GM trucks sold on our shores in a year than all the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche products put together. The high sales number and high profit margins explain the intense Ford vs Chevy vs RAM rivalry. With a new RAM in 2013 and a light refresh only a year later, GM is firing back with an all-new Silverado and Sierra. Does Chevy’s new half-ton have what it takes to be king of the hill?

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Outside, the 2014 Silverado retains Chevy’s classic styling cues with stacked headlamps and plenty of straight lines. Although I didn’t think it possible, the wheel wells have become even more square for 2014.  GM’s trucks have long been the sedate option in the half ton market, but Chevy has decided to inject a more passion for 2014. Up front we get a bolder grille, and following in Ford and Chrysler’s footsteps, there’s the vaguest hint of “big rig” styling in the hood stamping. New projector headlamps and an enormous chrome bumper round out the transformation.

Although the Silverado has grown slightly over the last generation, the difference isn’t huge. One major change for 2014 that does increase the truck’s size is the availability of the standard bed (6′ 6″) and crew cab combination making this combo 10 inches longer than the 2013 crew cab model and just shy of 20-feet. Also increasing in size for 2014 are the enormous square wheel wells. Square wells with round wheels have always looked a little peculiar to my eye. Be sure to sound off in the comment section. Although it’s a GM design cue that’s lived on for years, I think the square wheel wells would look better with a square-themed wheel. The ginormous openings will likely make aftermarket tuners happy since it’s easier to stuff bigger rubber on the Silverado without modification, but it made out tester’s enormous 20-inch wheels look small. Despite the squareness, and my family’s allegiance to the RAM brand, I think the Silverado manages to be the best looking half ton on the market by a hair.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes
Interior

While the outside impressed me with bold, aggressive styling and impressive fit and finish for a pickup truck, I was honestly disappointed by the interior. I found the Silverado a better place to spend my time than the Ford, but the 2014 RAM is not only more pleasing in style, but also more functional and Chrysler offers an extensive upgrade list including real wood trim and leather door panels. Practical features have long been a selling point and that continues for the Silverado. We get two glove boxes, large door storage pockets and a new center console in 5-passenger models. The wide console sports a whopping five USB ports, two of which are linked to the infotainment system while the others are charge only. There are multiple 12V DC outlets and an optional 120V inverter if you click the right option box. The console storage has been improved for 2014 but I found it to be slightly less useful than Ford or RAM’s stashes due to the cup holder module which “kinda-sorta” covers the front of the console. (Check out the picture above.)

Front seat comfort is easily the best in the half-ton market regardless of trim level. RAM’s front seats suffer from the same ergonomic flaw as many of Chrysler’s latest products: seats you sit on, not in. The Chevy’s seats on the other hand seemed perfectly shaped while the foam ranged from plush in our LTZ tester, to moderately firm in the base models. Likewise the rear seats scored top in the class with soft padding and seat bottom cushions that provided more thigh support than the competition.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Infotainment

If you’re a regular reader, you will know that I have praised GM’s low and mid-range touchscreen systems as some of the best in the business. Sadly the Silverado does not use that system. Instead, the Silverado joins the Impala and Buick LaCrosse in using a modified version of Cadillac’s CUE. So as not to step directly on their luxury brand’s toes, there are a few changes made to the system for truck duty. The expensive glass capacitive touchscreen (looks like a modern smartphone) is swapped for a resistive unit that isn’t as crisp or as glare reducing. The Chevy and Buick systems also get physical buttons for some system features, a marked improvement over Cadillac’s touchscreen only interface. Aside from these charges, the majority of CUE remains.

Like Ford’s MyFord Touch system, MyLink is sluggish in general and sometimes totally unresponsive. The software also suffers from unintuitive menu layouts and old-school mapping software that doesn’t jive with the system’s high-resolution screen. Like CUE, some multi-touch gestures are supported, but the different touchscreen is less able to decipher your intent leading to some frustrating moments. On the bright side, CUE’s selling points remain. The system’s voice command system features natural language commands and instead of treating the USB ports as separate inputs, the system aggregates them into one large music library allowing you to voice command songs without specifying the device.

Overall this implementation of MyLink ties with Toyota’s Entune system in the Tundra for third, with MyFord Touch coming in second and Chrysler’s uConnect taking the lead. uConnect is far more intuitive, the graphics are more pleasing to the eye and the system is generally more responsive. Thanks to a 2014 software update the RAM now offers OnStar like emergency services as well as app integration in the head unit.  The last thing you should know about MyLink is that it is hard to avoid. Most models of the Silverado on the lot have either the large screen or small screen version with only the most basic trim levels getting a standard radio/CD player unit.

2014 5.3L V-8 EcoTec3 AFM VVT DI (L83) for Chevrolet Silverado aDrivetrain

Instead of aping and releasing a new model with old engines, GM packs in three brand-new engines for 2014. Dubbed the EcoTec3 engine family, the Silverado comes standard with a 4.3L V6, an optional 5.3L V8 and soon there will be a 6.2L V8. All three engines share design elements, push rods and direct-injection. The 4.3L V6 is exclusive to GM’s trucks, not shared with cars and crossovers like Ford and Chrysler, the reason is obvious when you look at the power numbers. At 285 HP and 305 lb-ft of torque, the large V6 produced less power but considerably more torque than Ford’s 3.7 or or RAM’s 3.6. Thanks to variable valve timing and the direct-injection sauce, the V6 Silverado manages 18/24 MPG (City/Highway) without any special fuel economy trim parts added. While it doesn’t beat the RAM SFE’s 25 MPG highway number, it beats everything else.

Our tester had GM’s volume engine option, the 355 HP and 383 lb-ft 5.3L V8. In addition to the same variable valve timing and direct-injection systems the V6 gets, both V8 engines feature cylinder deactivation to improve highway MPGs. The 5.3L engine cranks out less power and twist than RAM’s 5.7L HEMI, but is competitive against Ford’s 5.0L V8. Those interested in V8 bragging rights will want to jump up to the 6.2L V8 which produces a class leading 420 ponies and 440 lb-ft of torque.

Regardless of the engine you choose, a GM 6-speed automatic will be sending power to the ground. The rumor mill is alive and well that an 8-speed automatic is in the works but GM has no official line on that. That puts GM on par with the 6-speed F-150 and two cogs behind the 2014 RAM 1500. You’ll find the usual part-time four-wheel drive systems and an off-road package in the Silverado but you won’t find the 2014 half-ton game changer under any Silverado’s hood: a small diesel. If your interest is piqued, come back for our review of the 2014 RAM 1500 diesel in a few weeks.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Towing and Payload

Trucks are all about hauling and towing and GM came to this fight to win. While most pickup trucks advertise high payloads yet only deliver those payload numbers in very specific model/trim combinations, the Silverado boasts large numbers across the board. Ranging from 1,875 to 2,100 pounds, the Silverado easily bests the RAM’s 1,340-1,620 pound payload range (now that the RAM 1500 “Heavy Duty” has been axed) and likewise is more impressive than the F-150′s 1,510-2,090 range. (The F-150 is available in a heavy-duty frame model which uses F-250 frame and suspension parts and F-150 sheet metal, I don’t consider that a half-ton truck.) The big thing to know about the Silverado’s payload numbers however is how simple the payload chart is and how little it varies from one model to the next unlike Ford’s payload chart that is pages long.

When it comes to towing, Toyota would like us all to know that they are the only one with a SAE certification when it comes to towing. Does that matter? Probably not. With the 4.3L six-banger the Silverado is good for 5,900-7,200lbs of conventional trailering, 1,100 more than Ford’s base V6 but lower than the RAM V6 thanks to their new ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic. 5.3L models jump to 6,800-11,400, ahead of the RAM and Ford and if serious towing is your bag, the 6.2L V8 can haul a 12,000lb trailer. Of course anything over 10,000lbs is probably academic for half-ton owners, since most states require you to have a commercial license to haul that kind of weight. When it comes to towing capacity, the Silverado V8s are king, but how about towing feel? That’s a different story.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesDrive

With my 7,500lbs trailer attached, the Silverado and the RAM’s towing abilities are defined by their transmission. With two fewer gears to choose from, the Silverado felt less capable despite the stouter numbers on paper. It’s all about the feel, especially when hill climbing. The Silverado’s V6 may put out more torque than Chrysler’s 3.6L car engine, but as Archimedes said “give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” ZF’s 8-speed automatic seemed to always have the right gear for every situation with the V6. Things get even better in RAM-land when you hitch the sheep up to Chrysler’s more powerful 5.7L HEMI. And that’s before we even talk about RAM’s new 3.0L diesel engine with 420 lb-ft of twist mated to the same transmission. This places the Silverd0, yet again, second in the class behind the RAM but ahead of the Ford.

The RAM beats the Silverado when it comes to ride quality as well.  Whether the RAM is loaded or empty, equipped with the standard coil springs or the optional air suspension, the ride is both softer and more composed than the Chevy. The RAM’s ability to load-level with that optional suspension puts even more daylight between the RAM and the GM pickups. I have to temper that with the reality that the RAM can’t tow or haul as much as the Silverado. Shoppers will need to decide if payload and towing limits are more important than ride quality since needs will vary. Likely due to the F-150′s age, the Ford feels more disconnected than the Silverado both on and off the road.
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Gauges-001

Although a 16.8 MPG average might sound bad to Camcord shoppers, that’s not a bad number for a V8 pickup truck on a daily commute cycle with 120 miles of weekend trailer towing. GMç 6-speed transmission has a fairly tall 6th gear and the Ecotec3 family of V8 engines has an aggressive cylinder deactivation program. Combined they allow the Silverado with the 5.3L V8 to get 23 highway MPGs in 2WD trim and 22 MPG in 4WD trim according to the EPA. On a level highway with the cruise control set to 68 I had no troubles averaging 26-27 MPG when the ending was in 4-cylinder mode. Despite the RAM’s 8-speed transmission, the Silverado delivers superior EPA and real world MPG numbers while sipping on regular gasoline (RAM recommends mid-grade in HEMI models.)

Our Silverado Z71 LTZ 4WD tester rang in at $50,475 thanks to a bevy of options from park assist to a heated steering wheel and 20-inch chrome wheels. However you configure your Silverado, the 2014 model will be asking a $1,500 premium over the 2013 model thanks to a late price hike from the general. Although there are still plenty of cash on the hood offers, many dealers are complaining that the price tags are scaring away potential shoppers. This means the MSRP for our Silverado was between $1,500 and $2,500 higher than competitive Ford or RAM trucks with the difference widening slightly when you adjust for feature content. When you factor in GM’s deeper discounts the difference becomes negligible but the crazy logic remains the same.

At the end of a week, I was sorry to see the Silverado go but I was also sad GM didn’t delay the Silverado for a year. With the 2013 RAM meeting press and sales success, I think there was a missed opportunity to put the Silverado on hold, toss in a new transmission and an optional self leveling coil spring rear suspension. Doing so would have made the Silverado more competitive in this high volume, high profit segment. Still, the Silverado has a great deal going for it. With the highest payload and towing capacities in the market combined with the best real world fuel economy numbers there are some good reasons to put the Silverado at the top of your list. For the rest of us, the RAM’s better road manners, snazzier feature list, top-notch infotainment system and excellent 8-speed automatic will seal the deal.

 

General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 3.13 Seconds

0-60: 8.17 Seconds

 1/4 Mile: 16.5 Seconds @ 87.5 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 16.8 MPG over 784 Miles

Cabin noise at 50 MPH: 67 dB

 

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-001 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-002 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-003 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-005 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior, Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-007 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-009 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-010 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-011 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-012 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior-013 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Gauges 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Gauges-001 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Infotainment-001 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior-001 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior-002 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior-004 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior-005 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior-006 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior-007 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes ]]>
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GM Offers Incentives On Newly Introduced Pickups. Were They Priced Too High To Begin With? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/gm-offers-incentives-on-newly-introduced-pickups-were-they-priced-to-high-to-begin-with/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/gm-offers-incentives-on-newly-introduced-pickups-were-they-priced-to-high-to-begin-with/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 15:44:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=602353
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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New GM Trucks Will Beat EcoBoost At Towing – But Only With A Special Package http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/new-gm-trucks-will-beat-ecoboost-at-towing-but-only-with-a-special-package/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/new-gm-trucks-will-beat-ecoboost-at-towing-but-only-with-a-special-package/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:58:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483544

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.

PickupTrucks.com 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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/gm-pickups-get-fuel-economy-figures-in-5-3l-v8-configuration/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/gm-pickups-get-fuel-economy-figures-in-5-3l-v8-configuration/#comments Mon, 01 Apr 2013 17:23:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483099

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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/2014-gm-pickup-interiors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/2014-gm-pickup-interiors/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=473839

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 TrueDelta.com, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

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What Happened To GM’s Hybrid Pickups? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/what-happened-to-gms-hybrid-pickups/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/what-happened-to-gms-hybrid-pickups/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 16:24:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=470707

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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/meet-the-new-gm-trucks-same-as-the-old-trucks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/meet-the-new-gm-trucks-same-as-the-old-trucks/#comments Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:48:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469998

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.

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GM To Debut New Full-Size Trucks Thursday http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/gm-to-debut-new-full-size-trucks-thursday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/gm-to-debut-new-full-size-trucks-thursday/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 22:24:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469707 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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/chevrolet-pickups-getting-luxury-trim-level/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/chevrolet-pickups-getting-luxury-trim-level/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 12:32:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=461334

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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/chart-of-the-day-gm-full-size-truck-inventory-12010-82012/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/chart-of-the-day-gm-full-size-truck-inventory-12010-82012/#comments Thu, 30 Aug 2012 11:59:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=458256

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 TrueCar.com. But they were higher than incentives Ford Motor Co. offered for the F-150 and what Chrysler Group LLC offered for Ram 1500, TrueCar.com 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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/gms-pickup-truck-cng-conversion-costs-11000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/gms-pickup-truck-cng-conversion-costs-11000/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2012 19:50:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=440643

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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/ford-bets-on-ecoboost-chrysler-and-gm-on-natural-gas-for-pickups/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/ford-bets-on-ecoboost-chrysler-and-gm-on-natural-gas-for-pickups/#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2012 20:47:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=434734

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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