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!


The Heavy Duty shoot out will be the best test of these trucks can't wait for it to happen. But this is just so entertaining.

i agree this wont prove anything. if i were ford i would show up with the f-450 and drag the chevy around until theres nothing left but a driver siting in the seat holding a steering wheel. sheer weight will win this.

Free advertising that makes GM look like a stupid and redneck.

You want the Ram. Check it out.

Chevy Avalance Vs. Ram Cummings Diesel Dually!

The whole reason this pull off went down, was the driver in the Ram was running his mouth saying his truck would "out pull the Avalanche."


I wouldnt be so sure, I found a video online of an Avalanche pulling a Ram 3500 dually. I didnt get it either.

Now excuse me i need to go feather my highlights.

one idea might be to load each truck with the max payload in the bed of the truck. then i think stuff would just start to break.

I think this would be more of a suitable way to test the pulling/towing capacities of both trucks. A good old fashioned Truck and Tractor pull! Ford has already shown what its truck can pull lets see the Duramax do that, then we'll keep adding weight and go from there.

Ford should take GM up on the offer, GM is probably counting on Ford declining the offer. The Ford has a standard diff-lock, and is generally heavier. The power and torque are supposed to be similar I guess. Why would the Ford be at a disadvantage? Having said that, I would never base my purchase decision on a silly tug of war test.
GM's marketing just doesn't have any clue right now. GM ads have highlighted how the Chevy has no tailgate step, the Ford does. The Ford has a bigger pickup bed than the Chevy. Now one ad highlights how good a Honda lawnmower is. I might have to go look at one of those! GM is doing a good job at paying for other companies advertising. No wonder it needed a baillout!

before or after, you get for to build you a Torqueshift 6 Speed? Ford for the win.

Mike Levine, your HD truck shootout sucked royally. OK, the GM truck was the fastest at the drag strip. What about trailer stability? What about braking? I want to know how each truck handles the trailer on a rough road or in strong winds. I want to know how each truck stops with a big trailer. There is far more to towing than heading to the drag strip.

I agree that a lot of a pull off has to do with the driver. I won a pull off with my 99 F250 V10 against a 98 dodge Cummins, but in the second round he won - did the engineering of the trucks change between tows? It would be impressive if the bailout money went further than union benefits, executive comp packages, and econobox design, but I doubt Gov't Motors redesigned there hydroformed 3/4 and 1 ton frames! There is no way a paper thin framed GM is pulling a Ford or Dodge. GM makes a nice riding diesel car, I mean have you seen one with a plow raised!

I knew it was only a matter of time before that big idiot Bob got and here preaching his Goverment Motors propaganda!!! Now we will have to hear that "GM sells more trucks than Ford because GMC numbers are included, they have better fuel economy etc". Dude do yourself a favor and don't post on here if you do not have anything intelligent to say. You just don't get it, FORD has the best towing numbers up to 24,500lbs, have a higher payload, stronger frame, built better, last longer, better looking, want me to keep going??? You GM fan boys are amazing. This 2001 HD is they best they can do?? WOW it looks just like the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 models, I am so impressed I can hardly contain myself. So if you want to keep preaching "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" why don't you go down to your local chevy dealer and stick your schlong in the tailpipe and make baby S-10's or just sit behind the wheel and rub one out!!! Give me a break. Like I said before Ford has gained 33% market share and GM is loosing it. That is why Ford stock was at $12.03 per share yesterday and GM was at $2.97 Like someone else said, maybe GM should use this "heavy duty truck" and pull the loans that they owe me the tax-payer for having to bail their useless butts out of BANKRUPTSY!!!!!!!!

I think many of you are overlooking that Ford will not be running the 6.0 or the 6.4L Powerstroke at the time of this test and will also have a brand new 6 speed auto in the truck. So whatever happened previously is irrelevant.

Lou - There is good press and bad press. This falls under bad press. When you have an upper management type calling out a competitor for an idiotic bumper to bumper pull off it makes you just look stupid and desperate. If he called them out for an honest test, like the one this site conducted previously, that would be a different story. This is like having a contest to see who can crush more beer cans on their head before they pass out. Pointless.

FWIW the Howie Long ads also fall in this catagory. They spend more time talking about the competition than they do their own product and painfully obviously stack the deck in their favor as well.

Mike, I went overboard when I said that the shootout sucked royally. Sorry, I should have used more tact. In fact, I liked the variety of acceleration tests, it just focused on acceleration and nothing else. Next time, please include braking and stability tests as well.

Did you read the Motor Trend article or just watch the new Ram commercials? Ram went against the Ford Transit Vans, new 4.6 Tundra and a Ford F-150 Raptor. I'm not saying the Ram isn't a solid truck, just stating the fact that there wasn't any real competition for MT-TOTY. I am with you on the solid front axle comment though regarding the heavy duty Silverado. I own a half-ton Silverado and have been happy with it for my current needs. However, if I were in need of a heavy duty I would be torn between brand loyalty, a new Ram or an F-350.

Most of these tugs end up being pointless because they run 'em empty cause the owners of these $50k rigs don't really want to break anything, but if you loaded both trucks to the lowest common GVWR of the two trucks (so that they could both be identical, and I am sure that even the lowest of the two is still close to the rating of the other, competition being what it is), and then make sure the distribution was eactly equal on both, then run them in 4WD HI (REALLY test the durability of the drivetrain). Then you could really see what the powertrains would do. I have a hard time believing that even these monsters could spin all four tires in 4WD high range loaded down at their full weight ratings on good pavement. This would take any inital mass or distribution differences out of the equation. It could also be fun to see front drive line components snap during the test. There could be more "scienetific" tests out there, but this one sure sounds fun to watch. And heck, throw a Dodge in's always fun to watch a tranny expolde. At then end, you could grab a GMC too, then tie all 4 to a Tundra/Titan and quarter the darned thing!

come on mike you know this kind of test is useless to test strength of a truck. Furthermore who are gonna drive the rigs and secondly all variables must be accounted for for instance both trucks should have the exact same tires and rim size etc.... it would only be fair. but mostly this test does not prove that the chevy truck is better than the ford or vice versa.....and GM wonders why they went bankrupt......dumb PR blunders like this and bad decisions. On the other hand I live in Texas so when you do get it settled shoot me an email to see where and when

You're wrong about one thing, "dumb PR blunders like this". Free PR is the best kind and that's exactly what they got with this challenge. Despite whether or not the test is a valid one about which truck is superior to the other (which I don’t) it got GM in the news (this website) and you to talk about it for practically zero cost.

This tug of war stuff only proves who has more traction. Its stupid and proves nothing.

An event like HD shootout is much more telling in terms of capability.

@Kieth - I agree that it is "bad press", but as they say in Hollywood "Any publicity is good publicity". You notice that this thread is 2 pages long ? Good or bad - people are talking about GMC !

good advertising gm have balls,

y thing the new d max is coming whit 750 to 800 fp torque and 380 to 400 hp..just for now..whit the new exhaust system and the turbo..

do you thing gm did do this test before.......they not dum to challenge ford...the best truck win...


put up or shut up fords a dog!! and drives like one


they probably don't mention the Ram because Ford is more competition to GM then Ram is... already ran a all out comparison with 1/4 mile drags, pulling 10,000 lb trailers and 7% and 15% grade.

For the record boys and girls, the Duramax won every event! Yes, it beat both the Ford power stroke and the Dodge cummins in pull off competitions. But don't take my word for it. Here is the link: and they plan to do another all out comparison with the new trucks when there released.

So for anyone that had all kinds of excuses about the pull off, read the results and weep! GM officially kicked Ford and Dodge's rear end and they proved it on the track and uphill pulling trailers. Chew on them FACTS! Ford and Dodge lovers.

GM already has fake pull vids, on u tube

The fact GM went bankrupt had nothing to do with the quality of the vehicles. GM's vehicles have never been better quality and content then they are today. Several factors led to having to file for Bankruptcy. GM retirees pensions, health care costs and legacy costs are just a few of several reasons. If everyone that wasn't born yesterday, Chrysler received a loan from the government back in the 80's that they paid back and GM will pay back the money also.

GM is starting to turn things around and will be profitable in the near future. So just because the govt lent GM money to keep thousands of people employed in this country don't be so hard on them. Besides, would you really want GM to disappear completely? I would think most of you would say no. So ligten up on the bankruptcy crap. Our country can't afford to lose even more jobs than it already has.

This is about the most ridiculous stunt I have ever heard about. These 'pulls' prove nothing beyond which truck has the best traction. That having been said, this will go over big in 'trailer park' country, and will sell GM a lot of trucks. No doubt GM is sure they will win, otherwise no way would they come up with this stunt.

@ Bob - I tripped across a Canadian article on the auto industry bailout of GMC, and Chrysler. The Canadian government contributed 1/5 of the money the USA contributed based on percentage size of the industry. It worked out to 2,000,000 dollars per auto worker or the government could of bought every vehicle GMC, and Chrysler made. I would suspect that these figures would apply to the US industry. I don't know about you, but, it would of been cheaper for the governments of Canada and USA to let these companies sort things out for themselves, fail if need be, and mail every laid off auto worker a cheque for $500,000 dollars to retire or find a new job.

Does GM's bankruptcy affect the quality of their vehicles -
YES it does!
A disgruntled, insecure autoworker isn't going to perform at their best.
Management whom, obviously do not know how to manage also affects the quality of a product.
From 2005 - 2008 GMC has had a 61% INCREASE in service bulletins. These are not "recall" issues, but are problems, never the less.

TSB's are not always issued because of a problem, many are issued to call attention to a change in a service procedure or change in specifications. ALL manufacturers have substantially increased the number of TSB's issued in the last few years. As for the bailouts, it is now very obvious they were done to protect the unions more than anything else, as the quickest solution to the 'Big 3' problems would have been to outsource the labor to low cost countries. Ford's management (specifically Mulally) gets credit for seeing the financial problems first, Ford was able to borrow large sums of money to keep from going into backruptcy before the backs tightened up. Truth is, Ford was just as screwed up as the others. Other truth is if GM had failed, no doubt Ford would have failed too. GM would have taked all the domestic suppliers with them. You Ford boys ought to be very thankful GM was bailed out. Why do you think Mulally went to Washington too?

@big Bob quote "ALL manufacturers have substantially increased the number of TSB's issued in the last few years."
If you are going to make any comments - make sure they are accurate!
Here is the information on 2005 - 2008 bulletins.
Ford(excluding Mercury+Licoln) 80% decline in service bulletins.
Toyota(excluding Lexus) 38% 72% decline in service bulletins.
GMC(excluding Cadillac) -61% INCREASE in service bulletins.
Dodge/Chrysler - 54% decline in service bulletins.

Lou, don't argue with someone who has been in the auto repair business 30 years! I just ran a check on TSB's for a 2007 Silverado 1500. There were 4 TSB's on proper tire repair procedures alone! Not indicative of a defect in the vehicle, but repair procure updates to assist technicians in keeping customers satisfied. There were a large number of TSB's on how to fill out WRO's properly, TSB's on how to return parts, TSB's on revised torque specifications. The number of TSB's does not have much to do with the quality of an given vehicle. In addition, many accuse Toyota and some of the other asian manufacturers of not issuing TSB's when there really is a need for them. In any event, there are far more TSB's issued these days then there was 10 years ago. Your statistics are meaningless.


The last thing GM needs is something like this. I mean think about it. Sales haven't been that great and if the truck wins then ok it might help slightly but if it loses it could be catastrophic for GM. Truck pulls don't really prove anything but the last thing GM needs is bad press.

@ Big Blob - So you are saying the NHSTA is lying ? I am sorry for doubting quote"someone who has been in the auto repair business 30 years". Someone who has to read 4 TSB's on how to repair a tire. Now there is a guy I will put my undying, never wavering faith into. You would think that after 30 years , you'd know how to fix a flat!

Lou, I am not questioning wat you read from the NHTSA. I am just saying that you cannot infer that the number of TSB's has a direct relation to the quality of a particular vehicle. The number of TSB's GM issued for flat tire repairs proves it, don't you think? Further, if you think there is currently a great difference in quality between GM and Ford full size trucks (not taking into consideration the problems Ford has had with diesel engines supplied by Navistar International) you are sadly mistaken. I see GM and Ford light and medium trucks in my shop all day, and there just isn't a whole lot of difference between them.

@ Big Bob - thanks for clarifying the issue around TSB's. It is odd that GMC would see a huge increase in TSB's over a 4 year span. GMC quality has been "hit and miss" across it's product line. Their trucks have been decent. I agree that if you exclude the PowerStroke" there isn't a huge difference in quality.

Second reader comment: "Tug of War although it gives instant results is not a scientific test, it mainly tests the skills of the driver. One driver loses traction and the other pulls away..."

Peeling a little deeper. It is a test of how well the automatic traction control system (if any) and the powertrain are integrated. If so, then the test is more than primal chest-beating. It is a valid test of how effectively Joe Weekender can clean-and-jerk a boat out of the water or his wife's car out of a snow drift.

I am a Chevy guy. I am rooting for the Duramax (and any electronic wizardry in those black boxes).


there is reason gm didnt invite the cummins....cant mess with a proven record

HAahahaha, GM is too funny! There are a lot of factors that are in play when a TUG OF WAR is going to take place.
1. truck weight
2. how much fuel is in the tank
3. tires
4. the surface of the arena
5. wheelbase of the trucks.

this is a complete waste of time, but who cares! I'd never buy a GM product anyways!!!! maybe a ford or dodge!

Yup, I'd buy a RAM as well.

Almost page 3 on GMC's tug of war challenge. WOW!
Let's wait for the HD shoot out by this site before we crown a winner. There still will be a huge amount of crying, and nashing of teeth once the results come out, as there can only be one winner. I wonder which "camp" will cry foul first when their favorite truck doesn't come in first?

Wow, we've got a lot of comments on here.

My observation - many folks are taking this "Truck of War" way too seriously. I see this as one heck of a fun head-to-head challenge and nothing more.

As I've said before, our Heavy Duty Shootout does many different tests in as impartial a way as possible to determine the best pickup truck.

Truck of War, of course, would be completely separate from the Shootout.

Tom Stephens is an IDIOT!!!!!!!!!! This "tug-o-war" proves nothing. GM need a new marketing department.

Ha Ha ,just kidding.
I hope no-one takes my joke seriously;)

Just thought I would throw something else in (don't know how reliable it is): Seems that GM is waiting to see what Ford rates the 6.7L at BEFORE they release the figures on the 2011 LML Duramax. Reason is the Duramax can beat the 6.7L no matter what, and GM wants to be sure the LML has the highest figures. Ford knows this, and they are stalling, hoping GM will rate the LML first at a figure the 6.7L can at least match. The 'pull-off' stunt is part of the deal, GM is VERY confident the LML will be the more powerful of the two. Does GM know something? You be the judge. Time will tell.......

Wait... Ford was going for Power don't get me wrong but they were also going for fuel efficiency to. With that being the case the new D max might just be more powerful then the new PS but the Fords will just pass you guys at the gas station. And to be totally fair about this, time and time again it seems GM always likes to overrate their trucks while Ford always underrates theirs... In HP, TQ, and what the trucks can pull. With the Fords being generally heavier than the GM's than any pull off (which is still stupid) would still be in Ford's favor no matter who has the most HP or TQ because the GM would spin first and the Ford would tow it to the tool shed for a spanking. Either way this is still a stupid ploy by GM and anyone with half a brain already sees this for what it is, free publicity because GM can't afford to spend my and your money on any new commercials right now... Why you think they are still replaying the year old Howie Long commercials during football? If anything with all the money they ripped the taxpayers off for they should be having the best of the best right now but since GM is the only manufacture to have a 60% increase in the TSB they put out while Ford had an 80% decrease in the last 5 years I think I will stick with Ford for the time being.

@Big Bob - I won't be surprised if what you say comes true. The manufacturer's play these games all the time. Makes you wonder how the carrying capacity, or towing numbers increase on a truck when nothing has changed? In many respects, playing these games is petty. A Ford guy won't buy a Chev because it has 30 more HP or vise versa. It justs provides more material to squabble over on blogs, or pubs across the country.

The comments to this entry are closed.