Truck of War: GM Vice Chairman Challenges Ford to Heavy Duty Tug of War

Truck of War: GM Vice Chairman Challenges Ford to Heavy Duty Tug of War

Truck manufacturers thrive on good old-fashioned smack talk in their advertising and marketing. They love to tackle competitors' claims head-on and boast about their trucks’ capabilities.

But perhaps the best competitive challenge that we've ever heard comes from Tom Stephens, General Motors' vice chairman in charge of global product operations, to crosstown rival Ford. It concerns two trucks that have yet to hit the market: GM's 2011 Chevrolet and GMC Heavy Duty pickups and Ford's 2011 F-Series Super Duty.

"You're going to love our new diesel Duramax engine in the new Heavy Duty," Stephens told at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.

But then, in a powerful statement of confidence in the new haulers, Stephens said, "You know what I want to do to prove it? I want to take our truck and Ford's [new Super Duty] and chain them together back -to-back. Then I want to have them pull against each other. I know our truck will beat theirs."

We asked Stephens three times if he was serious, and he repeated back — very enthusiastically, we might add — what he sees as a spectacular way to prove just how strong GM's new Heavy Duty pickups will be.

Stephens should know the capability of GM's new pickup and its updated Duramax diesel engine. Before he was promoted to his current position, Stephens was executive vice president of GM global powertrain.

So we'd like to take Stephens up on this challenge and offer our impartial services to referee such an event in Texas, the heart of truck country, in an arena where GM and Ford owners can come out and watch. We'll split the venue in half, for each side.

We've informally passed along Stephens’ challenge to Ford, just to let them know GM's position. There's no official response yet, but we think it's certainly gotten their attention.

The rest of the details still need to be worked out. So what do you say GM and Ford? Are you both all in? We know Tom Stephens is.

Stay tuned!


Cool! i wonder which one will win, probaably the super duty, but, if he's that confident, who knows, the Dmax might win!

Tug of War although it gives instant results is not a scientific test, it mainly tests the skills of the driver. You can see these videos all over the internet. On driver loses traction and the other pulls away. I would much rather see them do a pulling task on an equal playing field. Lets see a sled pull and drag race and a fuel mileage challenge. Then we will see what truck is really the best truck.

I'd love to see the latest Dodge in there, too.

Where's the dodge this guy from chev if he is so confident should challenge both, and to be more accurate it should be a truck pull.

They should get shotguns and drive down the road shooting mailboxes and drinking Busch lite.
See which truck performs better.

This is just saber rattling. Tug of wars are nothing but parlor tricks and the results prove jack on capability.

I agree with Ryan. What is this proving? The best tires on a heavy duty truck? The best driver? This is similar to Lutz's CTS-V challenge, stack the deck, and bring along a pro driver to make sure your car wins. Ethically, this is a tricky situation for (although not being a hugely respected outlet) GM comes to you with a truck and Ford doesn't, so you rent one, you've lost all credibility at that point.

The only way this could work is to chain them to a force meter first and see who the actual winner is, then do the silly stunt for the cameras.

This borders just another example an OEM taking journalistic integrity away from a media outlet. It's been that way since Motor Trend started selling the car of the year award.

Regardless I'll be watching...

Agreed, aside from being sensational it's not a useful test. Really comes down to traction and the chain connection angle.

More realistic is to load them up and see which outpulls up a hill. Again, it's silly as they're way overdesigned and overcapable for today's needs.

Completely useless!!!! GM, you are starting to think like a Red-Neck. What's next a Four door Camaro.

I agree that these tug of wars don't prove much, but they are fun watching. And ask for the Ram too.

I agree with previous comments, the test should be a truck pull and drag race. In a tug of war is who ever loses traction first will lose. I'm routing for the SD however I'd like to see gm give a run for their money.

Way too many variables to overcome in tug of war, as others have already mentioned. (tires, driver, etc.) I want the truck that can handle my fifth wheel best. (pulling, braking, controlling sway, etc.) But, doesn't mean I wouldn't watch. Sure would be nice if Ford won...all my in-laws drive chevy's!

"You know what I want to do to prove it? I want to take our truck and Ford's [new Super Duty] and chain them together back -to-back. Then I want to have them pull against each other..." - om Stephens, General Motors' vice chairman

What an idiot.

Hey Stephens, don't flatter yourself. Like these other guys said it is not a scientific test but if you want to have you ass handed to you, then by all means it is on. I can't wait to see the Super Duty tromp on the Silverado!!!! I seem to remember a similar comment by some other delusional Goverment Motors executive back in 2006 that said that "Ford's truck trophy room would look like a bomb shelter when our new truck comes out". Haven't seen any bombs drop yet?? Where is the longest lasting most dependable truck???? Most of them are sitting on Chevy dealers lots. Just like Toyota touted the Turd "is the truck that is changing it all" Still haven't seen that happen except their sales numbers keep going down every month. If you want a work truck buy a Ford, if you want a weekend warrior/grocery hauler, buy a Chevy.

Sounds like he's very sure about the Duramax. I'd say chain them together. Then bring a new Dodge Cummins too. But which one will be the best truck? You can't say anything about that after this test. Time for a new heavy duty shootout?

"Truck of War" aside, we are definitely doing a new Heavy Duty Shootout later this year.

although cool, this test would prove nothing

The truck of war might be fun to watch, but it probably won't prove anything to me. I'll be more interested in the Heavy Duty shootout. Hearing this from Tom Stephens just makes me think even less of General Motors. Hard to believe he actually thinks a tug of war would really prove the chevy is a better truck. How does someone so dumb get in a position like that. Reminds me of some of our political leaders. How do these idiots get these jobs?

You Ford lovers are a bunch of babies. You get challenged to a pull off and you say it doesn't prove anything. The Duramax has already defeated both the Ford and the Dodge in pull off competitions. In fact, this very website did a whole article on this very subject. The Duramax was fastest in the 1/4 mile unloaded and with a 10,000 lb trailer. They also ran the test at GM'S Millford proving grounds and they did this using different grades. The Duramax won every time!

Ford lovers will never accept the GM truck beating the Ford truck no matter the evidence to prove it. Ford trucks may be bigger and heavier, but they won't out work or out pull a GM truck and GM is willing to prove it with a pull off. Now stop being scardy cats and accept the challenge. And do not make any excuses when your Ford truck gets beat in the challenge. NOBODY BEATS GM OR THE DURAMAX!

I think they should test a Chevy against a GMC because they are so dfferent.

Tug of wars prove nothing. differences in tire size and even braking during these pulls and dramatically effect results. These trucks need to have a capability challenge. For instance, Seeing if both can haul a certain amount of weight and how many times etc....also which can handle the most payload wouldn't be a bad test either. A mud bog would be cool. Sort of a durability tournament. I would also put in "On Demand" as i would pay decent $ to watch that. make it an all day event from the big three! What do you say Ford, Chevy and Dodge? May the best truck win!

If he is so confident why not the new Ram. prob because he knows the Ram will win. Also how do we know if the trucks are not "tweeked" from the factory. There are alot of ways to win, tire pressure stuff like that. I believe the duramax would kill a power stroke.

Its not a scientific test, but usually the stronger truck will win, traction plays a big part, but I think that part of having a tough truck is being able to get the power to the ground. The drivers need to be independant of either brand and they need to switch trucks to keep the playing field level.

No Ram in there? Probably knows better; wants to keep his GM in one piece! The Cummins has the lowest peak torque. Even if the others have more torque, whats down low is what counts.

I think this would be an awesome thing to attend but have various tests in an arena and say after five or six legitimate tests then have the silly tug of war and after all the results have been calcualted name and winner. That would be a fun event to see with all 3 real trucks being tested "chevy, dodge, ford).

Go out and randomly buy a Ram, Ford, GMC, and Chev HD off a car lot. Get the trucks with specifications that are as close to each other possible. Have impartial engineers/mechanics set up the trucks, and mount the same tires on every truck. Get some impartial drivers and have them drive all the trucks based on the new SAE standards. Then for fun, chain them together and try it . Again, make sure every driver gets a crack at it.
If any of the manufacturers got to set anything up, they'd show up with skilled test drivers, and the trucks would be "ringers".
Regardless of wether or not this ever happens - look at all the attention GMC is getting.

Ford lovers, Dodge lovers, STOP MAIKING EXCUSES! Accept the challenge and quit making excuses for why your favorite truck will get beat by Chevy and the Duramax!

The GM truck will beat the Ford and the Dodge and nothing you say and no matter what excuse you use, GM and Chevrolet beats the Ford and the Dodge!

GM will beat both the Ford and the Dodge in pulling contests rather it's in a race or up a hill pulling a trailer. This isn't my opinion, it's a FACT! Horsepower, Torque, fuel economy and out pulling the competition Chevy and GM is #1

they should see if the new GMC can pull all the government bailouts and ou the chapter 11 paper work.

If the GM HD truck still has that goofy Chevy LUV no travel sitting on the bump stops from the factory torsion bar suspension they can keep it , no matter how much power it has .

While were at it lets slap a chain to the camaro and the new 5.0 musang.

Chevy Luv? Another fine product from Isuzu-Japan. Ford brought their deisel development back in-house for 2011MY for a reason. They're looking to beat the competition.....not join them.

Ford will continue to be the best seller in the heavy duty truck race.

WOW! I see alot of bold comments. The fact is that nobody knows how the new super duty is going to perform, accept for the boys at ford. The D-Max is still the same old motor it was 9 years ago, just retuned for emissions. Oh, I forgot, for '06 they changed the injector angle. The fact is that most diesel guys are brand loyal for one reason or another and your truck is always better than your nieghbors.

How about putting a ram and ford on each end of the gm and see what happens!!

Maybe Ford should just re-run the ad from the 1980s where the F-150 carries a Chevy across its bed while towing a Dodge uphill

nice to hear GM has that much confidence in their new Duramax, The Duramax has had the most power for a while now, wouldn;t be surprised if the new Duramax takes the crown again.

Hey mike quick question! What kind of truck do you drive if you do drive a truck :) I bet that's the million dollar question lol

No doubt the new Duramax will be impressive, but what about the new chassis and front suspension?

Hay Frank, your a big man sitting behind your keyboard calling me names. You must own a Ford because only someone as ignorant as yourslef would resort to name calling because he didn't like that I said the GM truck would beat his Ford truck in a pull off. Now call me another name and I will report you to the moderators and you will be banned. Try me.


He owns:

2002 Toyota Tacoma D-Cab PreRunner
2006 VW Jetta TDI

I would have to agree that this type of test proves very little if anything. This is most likely meant to be a war of words rather than an actual event. It will be interesting to see how this whole diesel war shakes out. Truth be told any of the diesel trucks already have more power than most people need.

I'm glad that GM has been able to retain some of its loyal customer base. I would hope that they could build the best truck with the $50 billion they received from the taxpayers. I will not be buying a GM product so that they can waste more of my money. Go Chevy!!! Don't worry about the haters because they are just jealous and wish they could build the supposed best vehicles and lose billions of dollars in the process.

nuff said...

Gee, that's not redneck at all.

Ford should just bring the F450. That sucker weighs 9000lb, there is no way a nearly 2000lb lighter GM HD is going to out traction a 9000lb F450. My point here is that a tug of war proves nothing, well, it might prove whose mullet is better.

There's no doubt this type of competition would be pure spectacle.

If you haven't read it, see our 2007 Heavy Duty Shootout. We're doing it again later this year for the latest crop of HD pickups - gassers and diesels.

The Shootout is the comparison that will really determine who's tops in the class.

They need an all out event. Races on and off road. Tug of wars sled pulls posibly some jumps and a demo derby. But seriously the best way to compare trucks is a sled pull tug of wars are too driver baised we need it to be the most pure truck as posible. But even if Ford wins GM still got a ton of attention about this so it works out good for them. This goanna be sweet no matter what happens!!!

So they don't challenge the Motor Trend truck of the year Ram Heavy Duty? hmmm. scared?

Until GM starts making Heavy Duty trucks with solid front axles they will not be my pick.

Yea this is real smart... NOT! Anyone with half a brain knows that tires, weight, traction (who spins first), and drivers have all do to with who pulls who in a pull-off. It reminds me of the Toyota gimmick floating around on youtube where they pull a F150 backwards... by making sure it loses traction first. Don't get me wrong an 05 Toyota should be able to out pull an 05 Ford F150 by the numbers but it wasn't a fair pull off because they made the Ford spin and lose traction on purpose. I guess I'm in agreement with the majority on this one, this would be pointless. Do a sled pull, hill pull with weight, and max them out to see who is the best of the best!

GM's challenge may be a whole lot of hot air, but look at all the chatter on this blog. Smart move on GM's part. Free advertising for GM. Ram's PR people need to learn from GM and Ford.

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