Remember CarbonPro? GMC Hopes You Do - and Still Want to Pay Extra for It

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
remember carbonpro gmc hopes you do and still want to pay extra for it

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.

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 mode l 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).

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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3 of 13 comments
  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Apr 12, 2019

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

    • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Apr 14, 2019

      It is a disgrace how trucks rust out in the wheel arches, cab corners and rocker panels. They should be able to fix this.

  • DenverMike DenverMike on Apr 14, 2019

    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.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.