With pickups and crossover vehicles serving as the lifeblood of domestic manufacturers, General Motors is setting aside $24 million for its Fort Wayne truck assembly plant. While the investment isn’t expected to result in any job creation, it does aim to boost production volume of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in Allen County, Indiana.
According to GM, combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab pickups, which launched last year, were up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2019 versus the year prior. This isn’t surprising, considering new versions of popular models typically see an uptick in sales, but General Motors says it anticipates another sizable increase in demand over the second quarter and wants the facility to be ready.
General Motors’ new Flint-built, light-duty 3.0-liter inline-six turbo-diesel won’t be a late-year addition to the company’s full-size pickup lineup, after all.
Apparently, the engine’s emissions certification process was not the speedy affair GM had hoped for. Customers will now have to wait for the 2020 model year before getting their hands on the 460 lb-ft oil burner.
General Motors’ first-quarter earnings report revealed turmoil in international markets and a shrinking presence in North America, but net income rose to $2.1 billion, up from $1.1 billion a year ago, and adjusted earnings per share ($1.41) beat out estimates of $1.11. Still, that wasn’t enough to stop its stock from sliding in pre-market trading, as revenue of $34.9 billion undercut analyst estimates of $35.28 billion. Pre-tax earnings fell 11 percent.
In its report, GM wanted to talk about trucks. You know the ones — the revamped 2019 Silverado and Sierra 1500 crew cabs, now featured in half of the pop-up ads on your author’s computer and phone, advertising 0% financing.
You’ve read no shortage of commentary about General Motors’ new truck engine on these digital pages — from the 2.7-liter four-cylinder‘s impressive on-paper power figures (310 hp, 348 lb-ft), to the continuing rivalry between GM and Ford, to the rather slim fuel economy gap separating it from its eight-cylinder stablemates. You’ve also read about GM’s reluctance to mention that the engine is, in fact, a four-cylinder.
Now, two real-world tests prove that your mileage may indeed vary — and 2.7 Turbo owners might not be happy with the results.
Unless you took the past couple of days off to ruminate about our collective existence in a Scandinavian steam hut, you probably noticed there’s a new heavy duty General Motors pickup on the way. We’ve thus far seen only the Silverado LT with the butch Z71 package.
“Polarizing” best describes the vehicle’s looks, but Z71s are traditionally meant to be the most visually striking versions of Chevy’s full-sizers, if only by the smallest of degrees. Well, what happens when the new Silverado HD dresses up for the country club? You have this — a Silverado HD that tones things down and might change a few minds.
When I was a wee lad, a four-cylinder full-size pickup was an unheard of idea. Truck buyers looked askance at any gas engine that wasn’t a V8. That’s obviously changed in recent years.
While I’ve already had a crack at the redesigned Silverado in Wyoming earlier this year, that drive focused on the V8s. So Chevy brought media to suburban Phoenix for a go-round in the four-banger, with the Chevrolet Colorado Bison also on hand to test (more on that next month when the embargo lifts).
When Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, infamously tweeted her country’s congratulations to Syria’s despotic leadership for its commitment to fighting climate change (a tweet reviewed and approved by 31 civil servants), it became clear that, for some, the environment ranks higher than anything else.
In the military world, it’s true that armies and their suppliers are often not nearly as concerned about the environment as their country’s leaders, but green vehicles are making tentative baby steps into this arena. At GM Defense LLC, zero-emission vehicles are a top field of focus, but the lakes and the frogs and the trees aren’t exactly top of mind. Rather, there’s practical military attributes to be found in green vehicles, and that’s why there’s a second zero-emission Chevrolet concept rolling out of the automaker’s defense arm.
Last month, General Motors released EPA-estimated fuel economy figures for one of the new, turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four’s applications: the two-wheel drive version of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
Despite boasting 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque, the engine’s combined estimated fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon left many wanting more. Now that we have EPA figures for the rest of the line, it’s no surprise to see that figure serve as an MPG high water mark.
Production of crew cab and double cab variants of GM’s full-size 2019 pickups is already underway, but the automaker won’t fully turn off the taps on the older-generation models until after the middle of next year.
GM provided a run-down of its pickup production plans Wednesday, assuring those who aren’t fans of the new Silverado’s styling that there’ll be a toned-down alternative available for some time.
When GM released EPA-estimated fuel economy for its 2.7L Turbo full-size pickup engine today, many of us were taken aback. For a four-cylinder (yes, it is a four-cylinder, and the omission of this info from GM materials is glaring), we expected a higher MPG figure. Perhaps not significantly higher, but enough to create a greater gap between it and its cylinder-heavy contemporaries.
A combined rating of 21 mpg is what buyers can expect from the 2.7-liter unit, which sends its 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic. (The 4WD model is not yet rated). That torque figure beats the naturally aspirated V6 found in both the GM and Ford camps, and comes close to Ram’s Pentastar motor. If gas mileage is top of mind, however, it’s a much closer race.
Is the American public ready to accept a full-size pickup truck equipped with a four-cylinder engine under its squared-off hood? GM sure hopes so, as a turbocharged 2.7-liter is set to be the base motor in two of its Silverado trims: the LT and RST.
The EPA has now rated the thirstiness of the new mill, which is set to be one of six (count ‘em) available across all eight trims of the 2019 Silverado.
The EPA hasn’t officially rated the 3.0-liter inline-six diesel bound for the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, nor has the automaker released power specs for this Flint-built light truck engine.
Thankfully, someone took photos of GM Canada’s dealer site and flung them to the internet.
These twelve calendar months of 2018 could be called the Year of the Truck, given the number of new models we’ve seen from major players. Even those that aren’t majorly reworked have gotten some measure of refreshment either in the form of a newly rated top engine (Ford) or snazzy color-keyed trim (Toyota).
We visited the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck much earlier this year but, at the time, there were few details in terms of powertrain or price. Those areas have since been addressed by The General, leading me to the question: does the least-expensive Chevy full-size retain its spot on our Ace of Base list?
Here’s that Ranger day
They told me about
And I laughed at the thought
That it might turn out
Apologies to the Chairman Of The Board on that one, but I couldn’t help myself. You see, I never truly believed that the Ranger would return to this country. I absolutely did not believe that it would come back as an American-made product in a newly configured factory, during what amounts to the endgame senescence of its platform. This is the kind of against-all-odds urgency that one typically associates with desperately needed products like the K-car or the first-generation Ranger — vehicles that had to be rushed into showrooms because the dealerships were screaming bloody murder and the Japanese had moved from mere flensing to actual bone-eating.
This Ranger, on the other hand, will arrive in the market to find itself lined up against a few equally superannuated sluggards from Nissan and Toyota, the indifferently-received Colorado/Canyon twins, and… is there anybody else? The unibody Ridgeline? Is it even possible to make money in this segment? Why bother doing it, particularly when the Rangers could have been rushed over from Thailand in a matter of months in the event of another oil and/or confidence crisis?
Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and buy. Truth be told, I’m kind of excited about the Ranger, because I saw a bunch of pumped-up ones in Thailand and I was more than mildly impressed. If you could get it with a 3.7-liter V6 in addition to the 2.3L EcoBoost I don’t know if the Chevy dealers would even bother to order any Colorados for stock in 2019. There’s only one little problem: it’s far from cheap.
Which brings us to an unpleasant topic: How much is a compact pickup worth?
Figuring out how best to shave weight from the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra wasn’t an easy task, with some General Motors engineers resorting to taking public tours of Ford’s Dearborn truck assembly plant just to see how their rival handled its all-aluminum body.
Ultimately, GM opted for a hybrid solution of sorts — some aluminum, backed up by varying grades of steel, to slim down its 2019 full-size pickups. But the obsession with Ford didn’t end with the plant tours.