GM's Full-Size Pickups Lose Marketshare, But Improved V-6 Sales Bode Well

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General Motors is sending its new chief financial officer around Wall Street to keep analysts informed about its current pricing strategies in the highly competitive segment of full-size pickups. Complicating the issue is sales of GM premium trim packages are giving both Chevy and GMC models some of the highest transaction prices in the industry; however, they continue to lose marketshare because the more entry-level vehicles are not selling as well.

According to Automotive News, average per-vehicle discounts have climbed recently. That trend will likely continue into March. GM's response notes that much of the incentive spending is to sell down the existing inventories of Chevy and GMC heavy-duty trucks to make way for the coming 2015 models.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, GM's half-ton V-6 could be ready to make a comeback. Traditionally, a small percentage of total truck sales (about 5 percent in the past), the new EcoTec3 V-6 is hoping to change that, and from initial reports, it is making inroads. According to a GM press release, close to 20 percent of 2014 Chevy Silverados are equipped with the new 285-horsepower all-aluminum V-6. When compared to several half-ton V-8s from 2004, the new GM V-6 beat them in horsepower, torque and fuel-economy numbers. In fact, when calculating the engine's real-world fuel costs and comparing it to other competitive entry-level V-6s, including the popular V-6 EcoDiesel for Ram trucks, the EcoTec3 V-6 gas engine is no better or worse than the fuel-economy leaders in the half-ton segment.



We had the chance to take two identically equipped V-6 Silverado LT double cab two-wheel-drive pickups on a 1,000-mile journey around the Southwest; one empty and the other with sub-6,000-pound horse trailer. We'll have those test results and impression soon, but we were impressed. More to come.



The FTC should force GM to stop using the word "Eco" in the name.
There is nothing "Eco" about it. It's deceptive.
That goes for Ram too.

The front end just looks to big for the truck, it doesn't flow well. At least make it look like it wants to go through the air. I think price and second syling is the reason this truck is not doing too hot.

If GM wanted to sell 4.3's they should have made the decision to put them in the Canyon/Colorado, where everybody wants them, instead of putting them in 20% of Silverados produced.

@Mileage Man. I agree that the Colorado/Canyon is a perfect fit for the new 4.3. I'm still puzzled that they went with the 3.6 in those. Though the 4.3 does seem to get the job done in the 1500s for some.

It's best looking truck on the market right now boys and girls

PUTC's comparo is lame because every one of the 2004 models being show probably had an old-school 4 speed auto.

All of the current gen trucks have hi-tech trannies. That's what the difference is really about.

Secondly, this is all "ratings." Real world is where it's at, not rated numbers.

It looks better in person, in that photo not so much, would agree it's the best looking truck right now. The RAM also still looks fine, but it's a different style.

That 4.3 has almost V8 displacement and gets 24 mpg without special FE tuning and 8-speed tranny, like the Pentastar. My guess is that the 1500 GM's do reasonably well, but that their HD's are way behind Ford and RAM. The new GM HD's lack in capacity and torque of the diesel engine.


"The FTC should force GM to stop using the word "Eco" in the name.
There is nothing "Eco" about it. It's deceptive.
That goes for Ram too."

What about Ford?

I'm not fully convinced that people are going to go for the 4.3l above one of the V8s. However, I'm sure there are a number of buyers who are open to the idea of a V6 if it can make power number close to old V8s like is shown in the chart. On paper the 4.3l number look really good. Since I haven't driven one, I can't comment on how it performs in real world conditions. At any rate, I don't think there is a good reason for anyone to be opposed to getting a V6.

Since it says the 4.3l comprises 20% of sales for the pickups, I don't think that is enough to recover or make up for any market share that they are losing or have lost. Besides the evolutionary design of the GM trucks, I think the lack of discounts are really hurting GM. For anyone that goes to buy a pickup(especially from the big 3), it is almost given that there will be discounts, and if they're not there, buyers are going to go to other brands. I would never think of buying a new truck unless there were some good discounts in place. When talking about $40k + prices, discounts are almost imperative.

I would be willing to bet that there only reason some truck buyers are able to buy a truck is that the discounts bring the price to something they can afford payment wise. Finance companies aren't going to approve a $50k loan at the snap of the fingers, they want a good down payment and payments that they buyer can afford. Lets say the buyer is lacking in a sizable down payment and payments on a $50k truck are almost unmanageable, based on his or her income. Well if the truck got discounted by $10k, that just might make the buyer's down payment work and the monthly payments manageable. It's kind of a lame example, but I think that discounts can have a big affect on a buyer's ability to purchase a truck.

@Mileage Man: Please stop including ME in your arguments; I am part of "everybody" and I don't necessarily want the 4.3 in the C/C twins. I'm not saying it wouldn't be a good fit, but that doesn't mean I WANT it per sé.

@Hemi Monster: Considering that I had a 3.8L V6 from '96 that put out 205hp which made the vehicle accelerate like it had a 5.0 V8 while still giving me more than 20% better fuel mileage than that same 5.0, I really don't see where the complaint is. Obviously today's newer engines put out as many horses as bigger engines from just a few years ago, which means there simply isn't a NEED for those much larger engines any more--only a desire for them. If that's all you're after, just buy a basic six-banger and swap out the engine for what you really want--which obviously wouldn't be a stocker anyway.

the Chevy looks like an old mans truck.

Not surprised about the sales decline. The basic 2WD crew cab starts at over $35K. I also don't like the fact that you now jump from the WT to LT trim level. GM needs to bring back the LS trim level.

GM's marketing strategy is to compare their 2014's to competitors' 10 year old models? Is this for real? No wonder they are losing market share.

The truck already looks 15 yrs old compared to the new ford that is coming in September and the interior looks like a 90s Pontiac grand prix.
The only people I have seen driving a new chevy are old dedicated to the brand people.

Compared to the new ford the chevy looks homely but the good thing is when the fords come out you should be able to get the gm twins real cheap if looks don't bother you.

The one major thing people always tend to overlook is gearing. It doesn't matter how much torque that engine says it puts out, it doesn't mean beans if it doesn't have the proper gearing to support it. You can multiply torque, but you can't multiply horsepower. I have seen a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L (325hp/610lb-ft) 3.73 with a 4-speed automatic get out towed by an 2011 F150 Ecoboost (365hp/420lb-ft) 3.73 with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Why? Because even with less engine torque, the F150 was putting down more torque gear for gear due to it's lower gearing in it's 6-speed transmission. The first gear of the Ram was 2.45:1 while the F150s first gear was 4.17:1. I am not saying the engine was bad, it just didn't have a transmission to support it, and having less horsepower made it worse.

Having that said, the tables have turned in Ram's favor with these base V6's due to it's 8-speed transmission. The 3.6L Pentastar is putting down more torque gear for gear than any of the other trucks base V6s with their shortest rear gear ratio all because it's transition gearing. That will change when the others move up to more gears, but for now Ram is the clear winner on this one. With the shortest gear available in the GM twins(3.42:1) and F150(3.73:1), they swap places on who puts down more torque depending on the gear. The F150 puts down more in 1st, 5th, and 6th while the GM puts down more in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. However, all of today's trucks base V6's with their 6+ speed transmissions put down more torque gear for gear than any of the big three's "half ton" big V8 options of 10 years ago that only had 4-speeds. If you are a truck buyer coming from a 2003 or older truck with a big V8, then you would be amazed with what any of these new base V6's are capable of.

Looks are subjective at best. Personally I think the new F-150 is odd looking. IMO the lookers of the bunch are the Ram and Sierra. Pricing has clearly had an effect on the GM twins. One of my friends (who is not an old man) was going to buy either a new Silverado or Sierra and ended up getting a Ram simply because it was much cheaper.

In April 2013 I priced the big 3 American 4x4 pickups all with similar style and options. ( Its been a year so unaware how the price has changed ) The 2013 Chevy Silverado 4x4 ext cab with the All Star Package, LS model, V8 was $39.2K that was with a $5K discount. The Ram 1500 4x4 quad cab with the 5.7 V8 was $36K with discounts. But I got the 2013 F-150 4x4,Crew, FX4 with a $12K discount at $29.7K
I disliked the Chevy but it had the highest price even with a $5K discount, I liked the Ram 1500 more than the F-150 but couldn't force myself to pay more.

ALL1 ?
You're correct about the gearing. If you live in a mountain region you need the 3.73 and if you live in a level area like the mid west the 3.42 rear axle ratio will work better by increasing gas mileage.
I have the 3.73 axle in my F-150 and I climb a 10 mile mountain highway everyday with a 7 percent grade and I can set the cruse control at 65 MPH and it holds in 6th gear and its only tach'ing at 1700 RPM's
The engine isn't working as hard climbing a mountain road.

I go around pricing pickups here in Australia as well.

So the Ford is the best!!!!

How odd?

@papa jim
I do think it's a fair comparison.

The reason is that's what was on offer to do the job of what you are doing now with a pickup.

Even our diesel mid sizers are putting out those V8 hp figures with 100ftlb more torque and are getting double the FE.

A bigger change is the fuel delivery and engine management, ie, direct injection, etc.

Gearing does play a big role as well. The required FE improvements for pickups will make them more expensive.

That new Chebby is fugly, no wonder they are losing market share. The Ram beats them in every category.

The chevy fenders just look odd.It looks like they built the truck then decided to add the fenders later and square at that. The grill looks way to big for the rest of the truck. The interior just looks 90's looking and typical gm.

ford brought new motors a all new frame and a aluminum body.New bed additions with ramps and lighting.Mirrow lights that shine on the ground when you open the doors. New bed steps for easy ingress .That's just a few things fords debuted with its new truck and chevy came with new/old cut out bumpers that came from the other truck.

The market has spoken. That funky styling was a fail.

Hopefully they did their homework on the new Colorado design. It's another poor choice to delay the diesel engine option.

@vulpine (fox) @roadwhale (whatEVER).

You wrote to Hemi Monster:

"Considering that I had a 3.8L V6 from '96 that put out 205hp which made the vehicle accelerate like it had a 5.0 V8 while still giving me more than 20% better fuel mileage than that same 5.0, I really don't see where the complaint is."

If you ever get itching or discomfort around your mouth, try a softer grade of toilet tissue, and if conditions don't improve after that, get some Preparation H.

The only GM 3.8 V6 that EVER ran with the V8s was the Buick Grand National turbo. Don't give me that BS about your 96 F-body giving up 1200 cc's and running with the V8s.

Watch your potty mouth, Jim. I made my point and when outside observers are asking me which engine I have and they're amazed that it's ONLY a 6, then I'd say it made its point. Then again, considering how these folks hoon their cars and trucks, it's EASY to run with the 8s as they're burning all their rubber off while I'm leaping ahead. That's almost all you need on an eight-mile strip.

(I'm hating on autocorrect. That was eighth-mile strip.)

IMO the Silverado looks pretty good once it's leveled or lifted.

@the former vulpine

There were some scorching hot GM 3.8s but the 1996 F-Body cars were not thus equipped. Using the lame caveat that the V8 racers weren't getting their power down is, well, lame.

Best GM trucks ever were the 88-98 GMT 400's. I would suggest that GM maybe pull out those designs and give them an update. Then we would have something to talk about.

Those were great trucks and with some modern tech and light styling updates inside and out GM would have a competitive truck again.

The GMT 400's changed the truck world when they arrived, Ford and Dodge had nothing to compete with them back then.

The current GM truck looks like a mid life refresh of the previous truck which everyone hated.

The grill is as big as the tailgate. LOL


The chevy truck everyone hated??? Everyone except for the millions of people who bought them?

Nissan, Ram, Toyota would all give their left nut to sell as many full size trucks as GM

@Big Al

They excluded the 4.7 DOHC Toyota Tundra 5speed from those days. It would be competitive with today's trucks for highway FE.

The other bitch is about "ratings." Real world is where it's at. PUTC promises to soon update this report. Let's see what the new 4.3 engines and six speed box can do with PUTC's test loop.

That 4.3 is amazing and always has been a good motor I know Ive owned 5 vehicles with that motor. I am actually disappointed they didn't put it in the new Colorado and Canyon. They really need to get out there and show how good that motor is.

@RoadWhale™ - you mentioned need versus desire. People still desire power or the perception of power. I can see why the 4.3 is a hard sell because most will here that number and thing "old" 4.3. I had a Safari van with the old 4.3. It was an okay engine but was hard on fuel for its size and wasn't all that powerful.

It is interesting to hear GMC say that the high end trucks are selling but entry level trucks are not. That is a sign of a poor economy as far as I'm concerned. Those that can afford a truck are getting what they can afford and the rest can't even afford a basic truck.

The fact that high end stuff is selling also shows where GM is making a mistake by offering premium packages in one line only. They are missing out on a very profitable revenue stream.

Posted by: papa jim

They excluded the 4.7 DOHC Toyota Tundra 5speed from those days. It would be competitive with today's trucks for highway FE.

And for good reason! They were comparing full sized trucks. If they were going with that truck, then the Dakota should be in as well.

I get a kick out of the people that thibk the 8 speed adds all the gas mileage. The "wait till this engine gets an 8 speed" or "it gets good mileage without an 8 speed"

Seriously, both GMs 6 speed and Rams 8 speed both have a .67 final gear. What the 8 speed does is helps with driveability. Makes trailer towing much bettet and smoother. You can google v-6 Chevy vs. v-6 Ram four wheeler magazine, and they can tell you in their review the advatage of an 8 speed, and how lacking a bigger 4.3 is with just a 6 speed.

GM needs a bit less gear then Ram to manage less mileage, but in true, if they get an 8 speed, they will probably go from their lowest gear of 3.23 to 3.08, or even 2.94. Anything to get a number, no matter how sluggish.

@Road Whale: no cigar! those 1994 350s would smoke those 3.8s, oe even 305s!

@ Silverado_Driver

What do you like better about the GMT400s, The smaller exterior dimensions? This new one looks, a little, similar to the GMT400s, but bigger. I like them both. But then again I like all 1/2 ton GM's.

I talk to many pickup truck owners and the biggest question is fuel mileage. I understand everybody brags about the truck they own as the best gas mileage. So I went to and figured out the average gas mileage for all the pickups from 2010 to 2014.
The Chevy Silverado 1500 was #1 with an average of 15.7 MPG
The Ford F-150 was #2 with an average of 15.6
The Ram 1500 was #3 with an average of 15.3
Last was the Toyota Tundra with an average of 14.7 MPG.

So I got to hand it to the Chevy Silverado as the full size pickup with the best gas mileage, but not by much, only a 10th of a mile better MPG than the F-150,, (to be fair many more F-150's were posted to than the other trucks that may effect the MPG numbers in either way)

trx4tom: there is 3.8 Buick in my family that runs in the 12's on pump gas!

@HD you are retarded! The Tundra was--and still is--Toyota's half ton truck. V8, 5spd. Half ton truck.

It got better FE than the Ford V8, GM V8 and Dodge V8 trucks back then.

Including the Tundra would have blown the comparison that PUTC was trying to make, so they left if off.


1st gen tundra was not a 1/2 ton it was 7/8 officially.

All I see with these trucks is a monster fat, flat grill coming down the road. I will only consider GM again when the styling basis changes from that of a brick-O and competitive pricing would'nt hurt either

A real truck should have the biggest engine there is ...Period....

Crapaw dimwit posted
It got better FE than the Ford V8, GM V8 and Dodge V8 trucks back then.

Including the Tundra would have blown the comparison that PUTC was trying to make, so they left if off.


You are the retard!! Get your stupid head out the sand! they wanted people to think it was in the same class as the real full sized trucks, but it wasn't. They fooled you, so that makes to the stupid one, not me, crapaw dim!



You must be drinking the same koolaide as HD.

The Toyota Tundra in 2004 (crew, 4x4, auto, V8) outperformed all of the others, except Silverado for payload. it was the ONLY halfton (except GMC/Chevy) recommended by CR that year.

RAM was last place, at only 1200 pounds payload. Tundra was 1500 pounds.

Don't mess with PapaJim unless you've done your homework.

Filed under the AND ANOTHER THING dept....

@PUTC The IDEA for this article was great, but please I'm begging you! Stop using EPA figures. They are the worst for errors. the are guestimates.

EPA hates trucks.

They hate trucks--repeat they hate trucks.

EPA lab techs all ride bikes, electric trains, buses. They are all vegans and do yoga; they sip green tea and go for long walks.

They hate pickups and the folks who drive them.

I'm really waiting to see the PUTC real world numbers. Please.

As soon as possible.

Papa Jim, the EPA uses the same measures for everything they test, so yes EPA ratings are a good comparison weather you like them or not.

Big Jim, just did my home work, you should too. These specs were taken from Edmonds website, both regular cabs long beds.

2004 Turdra:
Width: 75.2 in.
Height: 71.1 in.
Length: 218.3 in.
Ground clearance: 11.2 in.
Front track: 65.9 in.
Rear track: 64.9 in.
Wheel base: 128.3 in.
Maximum towing capacity: 7200 lbs.
Maximum payload: 1710 lbs.

Plus Toyota threw the maximum frame rust package in for free.

2004 Ram 1500:
Width: 79.9 in.
Height: 74.1 in.
Length: 229.7 in.
Ground clearance: 8.0 in.
Front track: 68 in.
Rear track: 67.4 in.
Wheel base: 140.5 in.
Maximum towing capacity: 8450 lbs.
Maximum payload: 1830 lbs.
Gross weight: 6550 lbs.

Last I checked 1830 is more then 1710. Did you also see how all of the turdra's measurements are smaller then the ram's as well? The 2004 turdra was a 7/8s truck.

@TRX4 Tom: "no cigar! those 1994 350s would smoke those 3.8s, oe even 305s!"
Aye, a 352 would blow away a 302, etc. On the other hand, my 1990 5.0EFI is only rated at about 195hp (Not giving me that at the moment) while that '96 3.8 was giving me 205. Now we have even smaller engines boasting 300+, which is my entire point.
A more current example would be the 3.8 in my current Jeep Wrangler rated at about 215hp while the Pentastar 6 at only 3.7 is a full hundred horses more--and that's a pair of engines only 5 years apart in the same model Jeep.

In other words, if a modern V6 can put out as much hp and torque as a 5, 10 or 20-year-old V8, then is a much more massive engine really needed for ANY typical pickup truck any more? When modern pickups are rated to tow 10,000, 20,000 and even 30,000 pound trailer loads, they start qualifying for Class V medium trucks--especially when 300 horses used to be considered huge horsepower for any vehicle short of a Class VIII!

As I said, desire more than need is all that is making the big V8s even hang around. With V6s offering the same power levels as the old V8s, those monster engines are gross overkill for 99.9% of owners. Since I never plan on needing massive horsepower, a real 300hp should be more engine than I'll ever truly use. I've done a lot more with 200hp than many here would really want to believe, even if what I've done doesn't match what they "can do" with their much bigger engines. I've proven to myself multiple times that intelligent driving outperforms hooning every time.

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