In a quick interview with GM's North American president Mark Reuss, Rick Kranz of Automotive News asked about how lightweight high-strength materials would work on a full-size pickup truck. Reuss' answers are interesting and somewhat revealing about GM's coming 2014 Silverado and Sierra half-tons.
"We have studied this extensively," Reuss said. "If you look at profit on this, if you look at what it takes to actually do this, what it does to the cost of materials, and what it does to the real fuel economy of that vehicle," the effort would fall short of GM's targets, he said. He did not elaborate.
"What you risk when you light-weight trucks are duty-cycle issues," Reuss said. Capability can't be reduced because "there are people who use that to make a living."
Kranz reported that Reuss went on to say that from a dollars and cents standpoint, and to reach GM's fuel economy targets, it made more sense to invest in developing a midsize pickup — the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado.
That's not to say GM's full-size pickups won't have better fuel economy. They will, Reuss said. But the midsize pickup will have better fuel economy — possibly much better — than its big brother.
The midsize Colorado will provide "90 percent of the size and 120 percent of the efficiency because of the powertrains," Reuss said.
That plan gives buyers two pickup choices: full-size and midsize. Sales are expected to begin sometime next year. The smaller pickup will also be sold outside North America. How GM handles the release of this kind of two-truck strategy remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Dealerships need to get ready for a lot of new pickup truck technology headed their way.