General Motors Pickup Plans

Last week’s premiere of General Motors’ redesigned full-sized pickups spotlighted the divergent truck strategies of GM and its Detroit 3 rivals.

Industry insiders had wondered whether GM would try to counter the success that Ford Motor Co. has had with its turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 on its F-150 pickup, or whether it would use the sort of fuel-saving technologies that Chrysler Group put on its re-engineered Ram 1500, such as an eight-speed transmission or a stop-start system.

Instead, GM unveiled next-generation Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras that will offer new small block engines with displacements similar to its current powertrain lineup. None will be turbocharged. All will be combined with six-speed transmissions. No hybrids will be offered.

Still, each engine choice – a 4.3-liter V-6 and 5.3- and 6.2-liter V-8s – will have better horsepower, torque and fuel economy than its predecessor, GM execs said. The EPA has not yet rated the trucks’ fuel economy, and other details will be released early next year. The trucks are to go on sale by June.

Some dealers and pundits think GM played it safe with modest exterior styling changes and lack of a sexy powertrain technology, but some think that’s a good move.

“If this truck can deliver substantial improvements in fuel efficiency and power, then it should do just fine” and “take some share,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas says. “There’s just a ton of loyalty in the full-sized pickup segment.”


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