As Pickups Become Family Vehicles, GM Vows to Correct Crew Cab Shortage

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

When thinking of a four-door pickup dating from before the current century, one envisions work crews heading to a construction or logging site. Now, these vehicles ferry mom, dad, Caden, and Brayden to Lowes.

The transformation of the pickup from utilitarian hauler to plush, well-appointed family ferry has done wonders for truck sales in North America, with automakers giving thanks for the high-margin boost to their bottom line. However, keeping up with changing preferences isn’t always easy.

General Motors knows that, in order to keep up with its rivals, it needs to build many more crew cab versions of its next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Speaking to Automotive News, GM product chief Mark Reuss said production of crew cab full-size pickups has been “constrained,” but there’s a plan afoot to change this.

“We’re solving things like that,” Reuss said, without going into further detail. GM claims crew cab models grew from over 50 percent of its full-size pickup sales in 2013 to over 60 percent today. Sales of Chevrolet full-size pickups rose 1.9 percent last year, with its GMC Sierra sibling dropping 1.7 percent in a segment that grew 5.6 percent.

The next-generation Silverado (which debuts Saturday in Detroit) and Sierra call three factories home. Crew cab light-duty models hail from Silao, Mexico, while regular and double cab pickups come from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Flint, Michigan builds heavy duty variants in both cab configurations, as well as light-duty Silverado crew and regular cabs.

Having spent $3 billion retooling the plants, GM needs to satisfy as many customers as possible with the new models. We’ve already had a glimpse of the 2019 Silverado, seen above, while the next-gen Sierra remains shrouded in mystery.

Judging by a report we brought you in 2016, it seems likely the Flint plant will play a role in the boosted crew cab output. According to a UAW shop chairman, GM decided to send additional Silverado 1500 production to Michigan starting last year, after its Mexican truck plant couldn’t satisfy demand.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Jan 10, 2018

    Crew cab = G37 sedan Extended cab = G37 coupe Regular cab = 370Z After driving a U-Haul Sierra I dig the whole pickup thing now... though I don't think I'd want one any bigger than that version, and I'd need AWD. RWD trucks have awful traction

  • Vvk Vvk on Jan 11, 2018

    This is terrifying! These things are extremely dangerous to regular cars in a collision. Having driven a crew cab F-150 recently, I can think of the only reason why it would be so popular -- cowardly people buying the biggest and heaviest vehicle they can afford. Because they are scared. They want to win in a crash against another vehicle. This is an arms race that can only lead to bigger and heavier monsters clogging up American highways. The F-150 I drove was just amazingly bad at everything, except being incredibly big. No pleasure can be extracted from driving one. The suspension is terrible, the steering is terrible, the cabin is extremely uncomfortable. It is extremely difficult to climb up into. Little kids need assistance because they cannot reach that high. Old people cannot climb in at all. The interior is incredibly wasteful of space with huge seats and huge center console. The bed is not possible to use to carry anything because it is just too high to reach. It cannot be parked without taking up the entire width of a parking space that makes the doors impossible to open without hitting the vehicle parked next to you. It does not fit in a garage. It does not fit in the driveway. It does not fit in the city. The tires cost a fortune to replace. Did I mention it is terrible to drive? Utterly disgusting! I can see people using these for work, although it seems that a reasonably sized van would be more economical and practical. But I cannot see using one as a family vehicle. It fails on all counts at that, except for winning in a two vehicle crash.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jan 11, 2018

      Glad to see someone agrees with my depiction of them as Road Whales™. They're simply too big to be safe and a huge proportion of single-vehicle accidents with them are fatal... not even considering the effects of multi-vehicle accidents against smaller vehicles.

  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Bd2 Man, Anal sure has been busy...