GM has made an about-face regarding how it calculates maximum payload numbers for its full-size pickup trucks. You might recall that Ford got into a little hot water by admitting it strips out certain features from the Super Dutys and F-150 pickups (like the radio, spare tire, center console and tire jack) in order to calculate the highest possible payload capacity for a given truck. At the time, both Ram and GM denied they do anything similar. But that wasn't entirely true.
GM now says, according to Automotive News, that it does remove the rear bumper and swap out to an optional wheel choice on certain models if it helps achieve a lighter weight number — which automatically means a larger payload rating. Both deletions are done, we're told, because those are delete options that could be ordered by a customer.
Some automotive journalists have suggested that the only way to keep the automakers honest when calculating capacities is to have independent oversight and some kind of specific ruling as to exactly how to calculate weight and payload ratings. We have not heard whether the Society of Automotive Engineers will see this issue as significant enough to step in and create across-the-board standards to which all truckmakers must adhere.
Weight savings will continue to be an important strategy for all truckmakers, especially for the heavy-duty models as the government will require three-quarter and one-ton pickups to adhere to federally mandated standards in the future. Likewise, as long as the Truck Wars over towing and load-carrying capacity rage on (there looks to be no end in sight on that front), we suspect each of the big pickup makers will continue to try to work the system in their own favor.