By on April 11, 2019

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

In launching its next-generation Sierra half-ton last summer, GMC focused a lot of its attention on the brand-exclusive MultiPro tailgate, a bit of door-within-door wizardry that makes bed access a breeze. It also provides the necessary hookups for tailgate party tunes.

In short, to butcher a quote from Toronto mayor John Tory, the MultiPro has more positions that Masters and Johnson. But the bed behind the gate was also singled out for some attention. GMC told the public that a carbon fiber bed — CarbonPro, in GMC parlance — would join the 2019 model as a late availability option.

That’s still the plan. With production now two months off, GMC wants to rekindle some of that early interest in its seemingly indestructible bed.

Yes, buyers of the top-flight Sierra Denali and luxo off-roader AT4 will be able to tick the “CarbonPro Edition” box at dealers starting this summer, the brand announced this week.

Far from being a bedliner, CarbonPro is a full-on molded tub that’s open on one end, sheathed in exterior sheetmetal, and bolted to the frame. You can peer through the rear wheel wells and spot the material. It’s a great way to bump up the price — and exclusivity — of its Denali full-sizer.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

GMC wants everyone to know just how much it toiled to get the bed right. The unpainted material was subjected to extreme heat, cold, a sustained generator exhaust blast, and airdrops of various objects, including cinder blocks, 1,800-pound loads of gravel, and 450-pound water-filled steel drums. The drops took place from “varying heights.” One imagines the engineers didn’t raise a crane to its full extension, though few non-military pickup owners demand that level of survivability.

We took a peek at a CarbonPro-equipped model in Newfoundland last August, where a GMC representative said the delay in getting the product to customers had something to do with finalizing a repair process for the nylon-based material. GMC would prefer it if you didn’t break the thing. We’d like to see someone try, as the corrugated bed can apparently withstand six times the payload that would deform a steel bed. The CarbonPro option shaves “about 60 pounds” from the Sierra’s curb weight and, because of its shape, allows an extra cubic foot of cargo volume in the bed. Payload increases by “at least” 59 pounds, depending on configuration and equipment, the automaker claims.

Small gains, for sure, but any and all progress is celebrated by OEMs (and at least somewhat respected by their customers).

gm

Can CarbonPro change your life? Doubtful, though it might change your image, and that’s what GMC’s counting on as a motivator when these things come on the market. GMC, and especially GMC’s Denali sub-brand, is a license to print money. With CarbonPro, it hopes to print even more.

For the tail end of the 2019 model year, GMC plans to offer a limited number of Sierra Denali and AT4s outfitted with the trick bed, promising greater availability (on the same trims) in the coming model year. As for price, well, that’s still a mystery, but carbon fiber isn’t known for its budget appeal.

[Images: Steph Willems/TTAC, General Motors]

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13 Comments on “Remember CarbonPro? GMC Hopes You Do – and Still Want to Pay Extra for It...”


  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    I used to haul baskets of rigging chain around in a Tacoma back when I worked up in Alaska. Never did manage to damage the bed of that truck whatsoever.

    Reinforced plastic turns out to be a really good choice for building truck beds out of.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/when-gm-couldnt-think-outside-the-box-remembering-pro-tec/

    I know there’s no love lost between current ownership of TTAC and Jack Baruth but you could have at least put a link to the above story in this article.

    Gives some historical context to GMs forays into alternative bed materials.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Talk is cheap. If GM is really confident in the carbon fiber bed’s durability it will put a lifetime warranty on it.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Given the absurd bed height of full sized pickups, any feasible gadget to lower cargo should be standard kit at no extra charge

  • avatar
    The Comedian

    Would it pass GM’s own toolbox test?

    https://youtu.be/GrahNMrlOIY

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Considering what people buy these trim levels for, wouldn’t it make more sense to put the carbon-fiber finished parts on the outside of the bed where people can see the extra money that’s been spent? We won’t know if this is a good product or not until the trucks are doing actual work in their third owners’ hands.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    They should make the exterior out of composite as well, maybe that will keep them from rotting around the fender wells.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    An aluminum bed would’ve been just fine. The rest of the automotive world agrees there’s nothing better for weight savings, rustproof, mass production, etc. Maybe include a bedliner or rubber mat. Not just for the top luxo models that don’t need them, but across the entire line, and a no cost option.

    This is a big fail.

    Beds aren’t the problem anyway. If totaled from rust or damage, “take offs” are everywhere. Cabs turning to rust/crust are absolutely the biggest reason pickups are scrapped in the middle of the life cycles.


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