Full-size truck buyers looking for the latest thing are spoiled for choice this year. Besides an all-new Ram 1500 (currently unavailable with a V6) and the usual offerings from Ford, there’s a next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra arriving this fall.
Unlike those other models, the GM twins went somewhere full-size truck builders fear to tread: the land of four-cylinders. Looking at GM’s newly released price list for the 2019 Silverado, it’s clear the new 2.7-liter turbocharged inline-four stands to save buyers money in more ways than one.
Chevrolet’s next-generation 2019 Silverado will be available with a turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder, making it the first full-size pickup truck to “go there.”
Displacing the same volume as Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, Chevrolet’s all-new motor ditches two cylinders, though it ditches even more under light loads, thanks to General Motors’ Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) system.
It’s a good thing GM shaved a good deal of weight off the new truck.
Getting quite a jump on next year’s reveal, General Motors released a teaser of the upcoming 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD on Tuesday. The heavy duty pickup slots between the revamped 1500 model unveiled in Detroit in January and the new medium-duty 4500/5500/6500HD trucks shown at March’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
Those latter heavy haulers now share the Silverado name, bringing all of Chevrolet’s full-size-and-up trucks into the Silverado fold.
With the 2020 Silverado HD, the family will be complete. Prototypes hit the road soon, GM claims, but it’ll be a while before we get a full view of these new HD trucks.
With an extra selling day compared to the March that came before it, last month saw U.S. new vehicle buyers continue doing what they’ve done for years. By that, we mean snap up trucks and SUVs like it’s going out of style. (There’s no indication it’s going out of style.)
According to figures from Autodata, truck and SUV sales rose 16.3 percent in the U.S., year over year, while traditional passenger cars continued to fade from the minds of new vehicle buyers. That segment declined 9.2 percent, year over year.
Monthly sales figures can be fickle, which is apparently the reason for General Motors’ switch to quarterly sales reports starting next month, but we prefer receiving data more often. And last month’s data paints a very different picture than February’s. Leaving SUVs aside, which pickups soared in March?
As we told you earlier this afternoon, two of the Detroit Three automakers posted significant year-over-year U.S. sales decreases last month. Ford Motor Company and General Motors both saw American sales volume sink by 6.9 percent. While passenger cars both low-end and premium can usually take the blame for any sales decrease, general wisdom says buyers will gravitate in equal numbers towards SUVs, crossovers, and trucks, cancelling out most, if not all, of the sales exodus.
This isn’t always true. In February’s case, Ford can lay some of the blame at the foot of its best-selling crossover, while GM can finger its full-size truck lineup. Ford Escape sales sank 23.9 percent in February, year over year — a loss making up roughly three-quarters of Ford’s missing vehicles. As customers await new versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the aged models brought in fewer buyers than the same month in 2017 — 16.3 and 25.3 percent less, respectively. Like Ford, that’s roughly three-quarters of GM’s missing February volume.
A 15 percent year-over-year decline at the Ram brand — itself awaiting a new half-ton — brings home the importance of pickups in 2018.
With the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado having been unveiled at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year, the GMC Sierra is unlikely to give us many surprises in terms of hardware when it shows up in March. But, as it’s also being fully redesigned for 2019, the Sierra won’t look the same as previous incarnations and still has to differentiate itself from its Chevy sibling.
Based upon the shadowy teaser image, now a common practice within the industry, the recipe for telling the two apart will remain largely unchanged. While the new Silverado adopted even smaller headlamps than the outgoing model, the Sierra will persist with fresh versions of the large C-shaped units. Unlike Chevy’s split grille, the GMC is likely to have singular “chrome” reaching beyond the top of the headlights. The Sierra is assured to have unique taillights and wheels as well.
Truly, this is a momentous year for trucks. Not one, not two, but three completely revamped or wholly new domestic pickups greeted us in Detroit last week, ready to capitalize on America’s unyielding hunger for vehicles that can haul, tow, ford, climb, traverse, and commute daily with a single occupant.
While we haven’t yet had an opportunity to put the 2019 Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, or Ford Ranger through their paces, we’d hope to find an increase in refinement and capability in returning models. Over at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, there’s a different testing regimen planned. Let’s just say it’s a hard-hitting one.
And if Ram or Chevy wants to get into the IIHS’ good books, those trucks had best perform better than their so-so predecessors.
There’s something about truck marketing.
Any time an automaker has a redesigned, refreshed, or updated truck to sell, out come the shots at the competition.
Tonight it was Chevy’s turn — the automaker wouldn’t divulge specs related to the 3.0-liter diesel inline-six that will be available in its all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, but GM product boss Mark Reuss made sure to imply that the diesel would make more power than that of the diesel Ford just unveiled for the F-150.
It seems like yesterday, but it was six months ago when I took delivery of my 2017 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Crew Cab Long Bed with the much-desired Max Tow package. I’d taken a pretty major hit at a local skatepark just two days prior; although I had to play down the extent of the injury so I didn’t get booted off a big European car test, now that everything’s done I can mention that I’d broken six ribs and fractured my right arm.
I also want to mention that the beds in Switzerland tend to be the consistency of slabbed granite and that cobblestone roads can make you vomit if you have enough blood floating around in your mouth already.
Oh well. Half a year later, I’m about 90 percent rehabilitated and the Silverado has gone everywhere from South Carolina to Detroit and back again, performing a broad range of trucky jobs and doing a variety of trucky things. I’d like to tell you that it’s been 100 percent trouble-free, but that has not been the case.
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.
The word “disruptive” is thrown around quite a bit in the auto industry, usually to mean “some wacky idea that won’t succeed without a multi-billion-dollar investment, an outrageous set of coincidences, and an overnight change of heart affecting two-thirds of humanity.”
Allow me to offer an example of something that has truly disrupted the auto business without so much as a single fawning piece in Fast Company or WIRED: the massive and significant extension of reliable service life among cars and trucks built after, say, 2001 or thereabouts. In 1957, there was no reason to have a sixth digit on an odometer; in 1987, owning a car with 100,000 miles on it meant that you were either dirt poor or a seriously skilled shadetree mechanic.
In 2017, 100,000 miles is the new 30,000 miles. People are paying real money for cars with six-figure odometer readings. Hell, people are taking out five-year used-car loans on vehicles with six-figure odometer readings. More importantly, the social stigma associated with owning a used car has more or less disappeared in many circles.
As a consequence, today’s buyers operate in a sliding-scale market where mileage affects price but doesn’t always have much effect on utility. It can be a good idea to get “more car” or “more truck” even if it means accepting an older vehicle with a longer history. Which is where today’s episode of Ask Jack begins.
An ill wind blew through Detroit late last decade, prompting all domestic automakers to shed excess weight in order to keep their heads above water. In some cases, automakers shaved off long-running brands like an unwanted hair. Models disappeared, while some prestige nameplates snapped up years earlier went out to the yard sale plastered in discount stickers.
A less flashy side of the recession-era cost-cutting involved the elimination of certain automotive niches. One, General Motors’ medium-duty truck line, failed to find a buyer before bankruptcy tipped GM’s hand. The unit didn’t make it out of the recession alive.
Well, now it’s back. GM has announced the Chevrolet Silverado line will no longer stop at the 3500HD model, and that our first full glimpse of the new medium-duty truck line will come in just two months.
General Motors is spending billions to upgrade certain factories, prepping them to build the next-generation Silverado and Sierra. As part of a four-year contract agreed to in September 2016, $310 million was invested in Oshawa’s so-called consolidated line so that it could handle truck production.
Now, Automotive News is reporting that while the Canadian plant may indeed be building trucks, it won’t be the snazzy new ones set to hit dealer lots for the 2019 model year. Instead, Oshawa will simply paint and perform final assembly of the outgoing 2018 trucks.
In case you’ve just exited a 60-year coma or immigrated to this country without any prior knowledge of it, Americans have a fondness for pickup trucks. So do automotive manufacturers. Last month, the average selling price for full-size pickups was $47,393. For General Motors, that translates to about $11,000 in profit for each truck sold — but the ceiling is even higher. Two years ago, Ford was rumored to be making $13,000 on each F-Series sold and its domestic competitors weren’t far behind.
Meanwhile, the average haul for an SUV or crossover isn’t likely to surpass $2,000 on its very best days and car profitability is typically even lower ( unless you’re Porsche). That’s why “Truck Month” seems to take place five times a year. It’s also why domestic manufactures are going to ensure pickups “dominate” the 2018 North American International Auto Show. Of course, was there ever a year when Detroit’s automotive trade show wasn’t at least partially overrun with trucks?
Just like Ram’s revamped 1500, there’s an all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra pickup lying in wait for the 2019 model year. And, also like the Ram, General Motors plans to keep an old version of its full-size truck kicking around for buyers not interested in something new.
The news comes by way of GM’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) decoder document, recently submitted for 2019 model year vehicles. In the GM truck stable, it isn’t just the Silverado line that’s getting a new addition. GMC wants some of the same old-truck action Chevy’s having.