By on July 19, 2013


The newest generation of GM trucks have barely hit the showrooms, buttalk of the next generation trucks getting a major weight reduction is already surfacing.

According to Automtive News, GM is planning on lightening the next gen pickups when they debut in 2019. Like Ford, aluminum is expected to play a key role, but Ford’s aluminum bodies F-150 will debut a full 5 years before GM’s trucks go to fat camp.

AN cites a supplier source claiming that a lightweight version of the Silverado will debut in late 2014, but it will apparently still tip the scales at over 4,000 lbs.

The massive drive to reduce weight and improve fuel economy is a result of looming deadlines for CAFE compliance, which will require dramatic increases in fuel economy for pickups.

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33 Comments on “GM Will Put Pickups On A Diet, One Generation After Ford...”

  • avatar

    No matter what GM does, Chevy is rarely if ever going to outsell the F-Series, even if it was/is appreciably better in every way.

    One reason is obviously that the Silvy has to share GM truck sales with the Sierra, but another is that years of loud, brash Denis Leary-narrated F-Series ads have successfully hypnotized millions into believing it is the _Only Vehicle That Exists_.

    • 0 avatar

      How about giving us some reasons the Chevy is/has been in the past decade better than the Ford.

      • 0 avatar

        The LSx based truck engines are easily better than anything Ford had until the Coyote, and the Duramax is (arguably) better than the Powerstroke. From what I’ve been told the GM trucks also ride and handle a great deal better than the F series.

        My only direct experience with the two is with a 6cyl 11th gen F-150 and a GMT900 Yukon XL Denali, so it’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison, but… The Denali handles very well for something of its size, weight, and height. It will powerslide through corners under the right circumstances and it’s not particularly prone to being unsettled by midcorner bumps, camber changes, etc., nor does it feel like it’s going to roll over. It’s no sports car-it’s not even a sports SUV, the Cayenne will run rings around it-but I can hustle the Denali down a mountain road quickly enough to make people very uncomfortable. I don’t trust the Ford to do the same.

        Is that important in a truck? Yes and no. Obviously you’re not going to be tracking it, but handling is kind of important when it comes to accident avoidance.

        • 0 avatar

          Define Better. Cost? Fuel Economu? Reliability?

          My (admittedly biased and unscientific) experience has been Ford trucks don’t leave me stranded. I see a lot more 90’s era Ford trucks (Rangers, F-150s and Expeditions) still rolling on the road than I do C/K’s, Sonomas, or Suburbans.

          I’ll grant the full size GM trucks drive better then the Fords (having owned a Sierra and access/use of an equivalent F150 work truck), but that F150 is still driving around South Jersey to this day, hauling lumber and driving in 4Low over sandbars. The Sierra was recycled into WalMart grade ‘stainless’ steel a long time ago.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I think that what will kill a truck in this new age are expensive auxiliary electronics that are buried deep in the chassis, but that are crucial to the vehicle’s operation.

          • 0 avatar

            The LSx is more powerful and-in my opinion, at least-more reliable/durable than the Modular engine family (Coyote excepted, as noted in my previous post).

            5.4L 2V Mod motor: 260HP, 350LB-FT
            5.3L “Vortec 5300”: 270HP, 315LB-FT to 320HP, 340LB-FT

            If you needed more power than that, unless you went to a diesel, the only option you had from Ford before the 6.2L Boss V8 was introduced in 2010 was the V10.

            The V10 is chiefly remembered for two things; chugging fuel at a rate that would probably make my ’69 Cadillac say “damn, dude, slow down” and shooting spark plugs out of the heads. In 2V form it didn’t make as much power as the 6.0L LSx did, either (335hp vs. 310hp). In 3V trim it made more power than the LSx did for part of 2005 and 2006; In 2007 GM shoved the 6.2 in their trucks, which makes 403hp vs. the 362hp out of the 3V V10.

            With respect to reliability, the modular motors have issues with spark plugs breaking off in the heads and with launching plugs out of the head. Neither is an issue that afflicts the LSx. They also have intake manifold problems, which I’m not aware of being an issue for the GM engines (well, these specific GM engines…), either.

            I’m not saying the LSx is problem-free, but I’m not aware of any major issues like that with any of the truck engines.

            Fuel efficiency I couldn’t speak to.

            As far as the diesels go, I may have selective vision going here, but the Duramax appears to make a great deal of power more easily than the Powerstroke does.

            The 6.0L Powerstroke is problematic enough to warrant its own special section in the wiki article:

            And I believe there are some issues with the 6.7 as well; I don’t remember what they are offhand, and I don’t really feel like going and looking them up, but a friend used to have a 6.7L F-250 and he was always on about one issue or another that was caused by some poor design decision or cost cutting measure.

            *shrug* To a large extent I think this one of those pepsi vs. coke discussions, but if I was going to spend my own money on a truck right now I wouldn’t bother stopping at the Ford dealership.

    • 0 avatar

      “Just gettin the job done doesn’t get the job done anymore. You gotta own it, and the Ford Super Duty is the downpayment. NUMBER ONE IN CONSTRUCTION! RANCHING! MINING! LANDSCAPING! FORESTRY!”


    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Considering that a lot of trucks are owned by fashion-segment drivers and get about as much abuse as any other kind of car, aluminum makes some sense. Then again, there’s that ever-present group who *do* actually use their trucks for utility, and who don’t want to pay increased insurance and repair rates because the trucks are now made from aluminum. It’s an interesting gamble. I don’t blame GM for not jumping on the Ford bandwagon. Besides, the new GM trucks began development quite a while ago, and I’m sure that by the time Ford’s use of aluminum became known, materials had already been finalized for the new Sierra and Silverado.

      But what’s a really good question is how much weight truck-buyers actually *put* on fuel economy. If the answer is “very little”, then Ford may be at something of a disadvantage.

      • 0 avatar

        Well the 13 Ram has had a big boost in market share, hard to tell if that is due to their ads touting the fact that they have the best full size 1/2 ton fuel economy, or the truck itself.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I don’t particularly give a *crap* about the fuel economy; the new RAM is just a great place to be. I love the interior design and materials. I haven’t been inside of one of the new GM trucks yet, though.

  • avatar

    Seems the Ram is winning the comparos these days.

  • avatar

    “Over 4000 lbs”? You know what’s over 4000 lbs? Honda Ridgeline. So much for unibody!

  • avatar

    From what I understand the current F-150 is quite a bit heavier than the current Silverado 1500, but the actual difference in weight between the new models remains to be seen. Even if the F-150 does go to an aluminum body, they may be closer than it would appear. In any event, GM will have compact pickups back in the line which should help their CAFE light truck average considerably. Wonder what Ram will do, those new Rams are not light.

    • 0 avatar

      Ram can get Strada easily, but the problem is the usual market rejection of 80% sized pickups.

    • 0 avatar

      The base F-150 and Silverado both weigh about 4600 lbs the Ram is 4800 lbs

      • 0 avatar

        The lightest Silverado configuration on the Chevy website is 4,942 lbs with a V6 and 2WD. Every other option is well over 5,000 lbs. They don’t make the regular cab model yet though, so it will certainly be somewhat lighter. I don’t know about 350 lbs lighter though.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m seeing 4596lbs for a 2013 Silverado WT with the reg cab, 8′ bed and 4.3, while the 2013 F150 with in the same configuration and the 3.7 is shown at 4764lbs. I didn’t take the time to compare other configurations. That is from the Chevy comparison page here;jsessionid=E9E483E98EC94AA8A9FB0E881BA9AA3F.mds02?year=2013&pvc=81033&snType= I can’t find a weight on the 2014, which at this point they are only showing crew cab versions of on their compare page.

    • 0 avatar

      Hope Ford figures out how to combine aluminum and steel more effectively than they have to date:

  • avatar

    The 2019 aluminum Chevy will not be better than the 2019 carbon fiber F-150 (or maybe F-150 titanium will be literal and not a trim package?). I’m not sure what’s in store at Ram, but I bet that Fiat/Chrysler will have split off at least five more sub-brands by then, re-introducing Plymouth and DeSoto in the process.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    My understanding is that the new 2014 GM trucks are about 500 lbs lighter than the ones they replaced.

    • 0 avatar

      The old one didn’t offer a V6, but the V8 models weigh as much as before. The new V6 models trim 140 lbs from last year’s 4.8 liter V8.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes the 2013 Chevy did offer the 4.3 V6 at least in 2wd WT trim. See above for the weight of that truck with the 8′ bed.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh. I picked the crew cab for comparison, since it is all that’s available now in the 2014 truck. The new V6 goes as low as 4,942 with V8 short-beds starting at 5,042 lbs, while the old 4.8 V8 crew in 2WD is listed at 5,099 lbs. So they lost 57 lbs when comparing like with like. It’s something, but it isn’t dramatic.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    How economical will GMs new engines be? Also the new Colorado has to meet CAFE footprint requirements. It is harder for a mid size to meet CAFE than a full size truck. The regulations favour full size.

    Also, how much money does GM have to design a new pickup?

    Or, maybe a small diesel ie, the 2.8 turbo diesel will be going into the GM products down the track. Izuzu make a 3.0 diesel that is more economical to run than the 2.8.

  • avatar

    GM has had the lightest truck of the big-3 for a long time…a few hundred pounds for comprable models between Ford and GM, while Ram has been the heaviest of the three. Time will tell what Ford will do with the F-150, since the news about an aluminum F-150 is all over the place; one says yes on aluminum, the next no and so forth. Someone will have to pick up the tab for all that aluminum too…ouch. The 2014 1/2-ton GM truck will be about the same weight as the previous model. They saved weight on some things just to be added by additional content, hence it being a wash.

    Regardless the weight will have to come down if they are going to hit those EPA mandates. Maybe we’ll start seeing smaller 1/2-ton, full size trucks? What a novel idea that would be, let’s not make them big for the sake of being big!

    • 0 avatar

      From Ford engineers that can’t officially speak, I’ve heard yes the 2014 will be aluminum intensive and will shave about 700lbs off of the weight of the same configuration 2013.

      But yeah how about returning them to the size we last saw in the 90’s or maybe earlier. A 1996 F150 regular cab 8′ bed with the cast iron 4.9 6 cyl only tipped the scales at about 4200 lbs, about 500lbs lighter than the current truck in the same configuration with an aluminum engine. So “right sizing” the truck could have likely got it down to that 4000lb range w/o being aluminum intensive.

      • 0 avatar

        Your points make sense, but “truck people” will not want the “wimpy” model. To them, bigger is always better. I would think a F100 would be a great choice for those who would be well served by the pickups of 20 years ago. But from a marketing point of view it would be a failure. So if they can keep the big size and cut the weight they might be onto something. I just don’t know if truck buyer are so concerned with mileage. Good thing trucks are so damn profitable because aluminum is expensive.

  • avatar

    It seems like it would make more sense to create a regulation vehicle instead of screwing up the silverado.

    As a GM leaning guy on TTAC, I hate the new trucks with a passion.
    No ground clearence, no reason for 4wd with the amount of ground clearence these have.
    Thin sheet metal, dents much to easy
    Cyclinder deactivation, is very bugged and has to be programmed out for aftermarket exhaust.
    Square wheel wells, still having trouble finding those square tires.
    Lack of traditional non touch screen radio
    Ugly bumpers that are about as thick as the body sheet metal, as well as being much too low.
    Shoddy seats, look at GMT800 on how to make leather seats.
    Electric power steering, need I go further?
    Much too light for their footprint

    Again 1/2 are going to become soccer mom vehicles, people that need a Reliable truck all are going to be going to 3/4, lets pray they don’t screw up the 6.0 vortec

  • avatar

    What if you don’t like reduced-weight buttalks?

  • avatar

    This is the data I have for current (2013) domestic full size pickups in their lightest configurations (standard cab, short bed):
    Ford F-150 4685#’s
    Silverado 1500 4387#’s
    Ram 1500 4500#’s

    So, if the 2014 F-150 sheds @700#’s, the GM twins need to loose @400#’s to match the Ford. I have not heard how much lighter the new GM’s are than the previous models, if they are any lighter at all.

    I wouldn’t buy an aluminum bodied pickup truck for a few years at least. Need to see how that idea pans out.

  • avatar

    @Scoutdude – the current Fords aren’t much larger than the Ford’s of old. Most of the extra weight comes with all of the safety equipment. The trucks have different crumple zones and the door walls are thicker etc. Remove the airbags and all of the nannies etc. and you’ll have a truck close in weight to a 1990 truck. Look at the fuse box on a 1990 pickup. It is the size of a deck of cards. The one on my current truck is massive.
    I had a 1990 F250 5.0 5 speed Reg cab 8 ft box and my current 2010 F150 5.4 Supercrew 6.5 box out performs it in every conceivable metric. My highway mph on that old F250 is basically my city mpg of my current truck.
    GMC doesn’t have the same need to pare down weight since they are light already. Their engines have traditionally generated better mpg numbers than everyone else too.
    The Colorado, depending on configuration will fall into the EPA size category of the Sierra/Silverado. It is going to be GMC’s EPA ringer. That will buy them breathing room with the larger 1/2 tons.

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