GM Patents 'Man Step' After Criticizing Ford For Selling One

Bozi Tatarevic
by Bozi Tatarevic
gm patents man step after criticizing ford for selling one

General Motors loves to poke at its competitors, especially when it comes to trucks. We’re all familiar with its recent barrage of ads attacking Ford for using aluminum in the F-150’s bed, but another ad from 2009 may be coming back to bite them.

The ad in question made fun of a new feature that extended a step and handle from the tailgate of the F-150. Chevrolet didn’t have anything similar at the time, so it decided instead to make an ad mocking the step and making it seem like a feature for unmanly weaklings. Chevy resurrected a similar feature in the bumpers of some trucks a few years later, though a recent set of patents shows the automaker is almost replicating the step they ridiculed eight years ago.

The first patent, titled “Multi-Panel Hinged Endgate Assembly With Edge Support For Step Panel”, was published in October of last year and shows a two-piece tailgate with an upper portion that folds out to become a step. The step shown in the diagram is similar in theory to the earlier Ford step, but instead of sliding out of the top of the tailgate, it uses a multi-hinged panel to drop down — providing additional surface area to step on.

The second patent, titled “Tailgate Assembly With a Step Assist Handle,” was published just a few weeks ago and brings the design much closer to the earlier one. This patent shows the step assembly from the earlier diagram, but adds a retractable handle for the user to hold on to as they are entering or exiting the bed.

Chevy must not think that the feature is wimpy any longer, since it decided to put time into developing this solution. I am sure that, if it goes into production, there will be some long explanation on how this version of the step is better than all of the others. Perhaps GM should let its engineers work on a solution before deciding to respond with critical marketing.

I’m sure this won’t be an isolated case and that we’ll see a similar pie-in-the-face situation when GM eventually decides to move to aluminum beds.

(Edit: Chevrolet originally had a bumper step feature on the GMT805 Avalanche starting in 2001, as pointed out by commenter APaGttH)

[Images: General Motors]

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jan 16, 2017

    The Studebaker Wagonaire offered a optional tailgate step. Revolutionary for its time.

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    • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jan 16, 2017

      @Drzhivago138 Note I've left Earl's infamous joke out of it. Though today that would get him an analyst gig on cable news.

  • Carlisimo Carlisimo on Jan 17, 2017

    We need these steps. I'm in the building industry and a lot of the best field guys are getting old and physically wearing out, just as pickups have gotten absurdly tall. You can't reach in from the side anymore, and climbing into the back isn't as easy as it should be. Making fun of it was a dumb move. Copying it, a good one.

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    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Jan 17, 2017

      @Vulpine "— False. Width could easily be reduced by a foot, bringing it BACK to the full size of 1990, only 25 (ok, now 27) years ago. This is also why I argue that today’s mid-size models are equivalent to yesterday’s full sized models–meaning there is absolutely room for a modern, compact model." Width of a modern F-150 or other full-size, less mirrors, is 79". Width of a mid-'60s F-100, less mirrors, is 78", as taken from here: There has been no decrease in width between those two points. Decreasing width of current full-size trucks (79") by a foot (12") would make them narrower than the first Ford Ranger (68"). Unless you were talking width with mirrors, which isn't valid because no-one is asking for smaller mirrors. "— Would you like me to present examples of TODAY’s full-sized trucks with 4.5′ beds? You only have to go to any brand’s web page to see that the shorter bed is the standard bed and that a 6′ to 6.5′ bed is considered the ‘long’ bed." By all means, go ahead. But while you're doing that, we'll look at the official measurements: F-150 shortest bed: 66" Silverado/Sierra 1500 shortest bed: 69" Ram 1500 shortest bed: 67" Tundra shortest bed: 67" Titan shortest bed: 67" Those are all a little bit longer than 4.5' (54"), methinks. This isn't about what's considered "short," "long," "standard," etc. GM calls the 6.5' "standard and the 5.5' "short" on their half-tons, since the 6.5' is the only bed available on all three cabs (a similar situation. "— Outside of continuing to dodge the EPA fuel economy requirements, which is the SOLE reason they’re as big as they are now." [Citation needed], since a Silverado has essentially the same wheelbase from a GMT400 model all the way to today. Only F-150s and Rams had any sizable length increase, and Occam's Razor says it's more likely they got longer in the cab _because_people_liked_having_a_bigger_cab_.

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)