GM Designer Stays True to Silverado Buyers

Tom Peters 1 II

With the recent introduction of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and new-truck sales figures on the upswing, you'd think General Motors has several solid reasons to be optimistic. But cautious optimism may be a better position given the choice GM made long ago about whom to put in charge of the interior and exterior design of new trucks.

There's no question Tom Peters, lead designer for Chevy's performance-car and full-size truck design studios, understands what it's like to tackle an important project. In fact, at the same time his crew was putting the finishing touches on the new Silverado, he had another team finishing up the highly controversial 2014 Corvette Stingray. Some have said the new Stingray has no right being "too wild" and "too European" as Chevy's premiere high-performance sports car.

According to Automotive News, Peters was cognizant of the fact that Chevy truck buyers — who are very different from Corvette buyers — weren't looking for flashy, wild or crazy new designs. They were more concerned with function and getting a higher level of overall refinement out of their next truck, according to Peters.

That all makes sense to us, but we're not sure why that wouldn't apply to any manufacturer that makes pickup trucks. Those focused Stingray comments certainly shouldn't have restricted Peters from pushing a few boundaries and trying some more interesting design with a little more personality in terms of the 2014 Silverado.

During his design walk-around at a recent press introduction of the new Silverado, Peters said the guiding image for the new face of the Chevy half-ton was a "fist in the wind." Interestingly, as we recall, this is exactly what current-generation Tundra designers described when it was introduced six years ago. To date, the harshest critics of the 2014 Silverado have described the subtle grille changes as being more like a soft slap in the face.

Peters shared his thoughts about the new front-end design, which designers discussed, debated and reshaped to improve and more cleanly refine the overall front look of the Silverado.

Silverado frontend II

Surprisingly, the grille was not his favorite part, although he clearly appreciates the wider and sturdier look. His favorite focal point was how the front fenders and fender wells interact with the stacked headlights (we were looking at the High Country trim package at the time), and the wraparound bumper at each front corner. The bulging fender lines in particular are interesting, he noted, because the sheet metal actually folds into the body — although from a distance it looks like the whole fender bulges out from the body.

During his 30-year career at GM, Peters also has been involved with the Corvette Indy concept in the late 1980s, the Pontiac Aztek in the early 2000s, the Cadillac Sixteen concept in 2003 and the Chevy Camaro in 2009.

Whether the 2014 Silverado design becomes one of his huge or mild successes, Peters seems quite comfortable allowing others to decide its success for themselves. For now, it's probably not such a bad thing that the Silverado had a designer who wanted to stay as true as possible to its loyal customers; however, if we had to guess, he allowed his team to "play" a little more with the 2014 GMC Sierra. We'll know more about those details later this month when get our first chance to drive it.

Tom Peters 2 II


The fact that he had some design factors in the Aztek doesn't help him. I always thought the thing looked like the old Honda CVCC inflated up like a balloon and put on tiny tires. There were simply too many things WRONG with the Aztek. I can already tell you that I'm still not a fan of the Silverado as compared to the Sierra. I prefer the front end of the Sierra over everything BUT RAM, and even then it's a close tie for me.

This is not a gamebreaker in style. Only time will tell if truck buyers flock to get one.

These trucks better be less creaky and noisy than the last generation. My 2009 Silverado has been to the dealer at least four times for suspension noise. The power, ride, comfort and reliability have all been great, though.

The 2014 will need to have a very quiet well insulated interior and comfortable seats to compete with the F150 and the Ram.

The drivetrain upgrades will soon be well understood by its buyers. We'll see.

"Surprisingly, the grille was not his favorite part."

Even the designers think they are cheesy. Why couldn't they make the sturdier changes.

"highly controversial 2014 Corvette Stingray"

WHAT!!! The 2014 Stingray is a huge hit.

As for the 2014 Silverado I think it is conservative but handsome. I think It'll do fine in the market. The haters where never going to buy them anyway. So who cares what they think.

I don't mind the new Chevy face but it does seem a little "in your face" like the Ford Superduties (The GMC more so to me). I don't care for those either. They look like that fat girl who wears fancy clothes and lots of makeup in hopes you won't notice the extra 40-50 lbs she is packing around.

The interior is a bit bland but likely of nice quality which is a good change but likely not game changing. It is my opinion (and my opinion only, you all are free to have your own) that GM ran up to "the bar" but decidied not to jump over it or even attempt to get around it. They just got right up to it and said "good enough."

I am a chevy truck buyer,have been for years.I like the new styling of the silverado,but not the gmc.Different strokes...I would say.Now,will I buy a new silvey? Only if I don't like the upcoming colorado (or whatever name they give it).A nice chevy mid-size with a diesel,or at worst the new 4.3L V6.Either way I will need towing mirrors....

While the new truck is a solid upgrade, I don't see this design adding any NEW buyers without huge discounts off MSRP.

Sure Chevy wants to stay true to its core, but the core will dwindle eventually, and when new buyers aren't coming in the core dies.

@Frank I like the honey comb grill look but I think on the WT trim like I buy you can't get it that way I don't think.

Ya not a fan of the chicken coop wire grille on the black one.

Not much of a fan for the color black, but this truck seems to have the right amount of chrome to make it look sharp and pop out at you nicely.

Gmc truck get bigger sales whit the new front grill...

Its interesting to note that when designers tried to push the envelope, they came up with the Aztek, the Subaru Tribeca and some other equally ugly vehicles-such as the Acura's with their "parrot beaks" and the Honda Crosstour.
I was driving around the other day and noticed assorted Chev trucks from different decades. What struck me was the fact that you could still tell what they were-their design heritage was evident and consistent across the years. I don't think the average person wants radically different styling, whether its in vehicles or in clothes or houses or jewellry. We all want an evolution of style so we're not so advantgarde that we stick out like a sore thumb, but new enough to be different yet old enough to be comfortably familiar. Kudos to the design team for 2014 GM trucks. Can't wait to see whats in store when 2020 rolls around!

They really should fire this guy and hire someone who can and will design a truck that isn't so hideously ugly. Want to catch Ford? Design a truck that people aren't ashamed to be seen in.

@JRT you have probably never been out of mom and dad's basement long enough to own your own car or truck.

With regard to Chevy and Ford styling, you have to be kidding dude! There are so many examples of great looks from both car makers, and there were some bombs too.

Can you say Vega? It wasn't bad looking but that was it! total junk! Can you say Ford Freestar? Has there ever been a less popular minivan from a major carmaker?

Let's talk trucks. During the 1990s the F150 was a star. The Dodge got better during those years and Chevy not so much.

But the Chevy's built back then ARE STILL RUNNING.

Have you EVER met a Dodge truck owner from those days who didn't have a blown transmission? Trannies from Dodge in those days were the worst.

The F150s back then had a lot of 302 V8s which were only OK but the drivetrains were solid and the customer satisfaction was off the chart. Sorry I didn't buy one.

My only problem was that I couldn't make my Chevy die.

sorry guys I just flat out hate these new trucks. people who like these trucks are buying something someone told them looks good! If you like me come from GM roots you'd change to RAM its where sliverado left off before building crappy trucks. I can't believe all the amazing vehicles being produced now a days and chevy blows it with their biggest hit! geez I just can't believe these bulging crotches for the wheel wells? lol canadians running GM? If people bash RAM at least they are designed by italians & german engineers to some extend anyway. better than canadians lol no offense but the facts are the facts...RAM's got a mercedes tranny & ferrari influenced interior yeah its a no brainer RAM is better! GUTS! GLORY! RAM!

Just don't care for the look of this truck. Anybody can draw a square and that all this truck is, a square truck with a square grill and wheel wells. Sorry but the shiny chrome can't hide the ugliness of it.

I thought it looked tollerable originally, but the more I see the more I dislike.

The overall ugliness is clearly showing the first pic.

In the second pic, the doubled up headlights, square off wheel wells and the large grey plastic air dam is awful.

I don't dislike Chevy and come from Chevy roots in the 80's and 90's, I dislike what Govn't Motors has done to their trucks. GM is not moving forward. It is falling backwards which is part of the problem.

The new Silverado is a much nicer looking truck. Nothing wrong with a Chevy looking like a Chevy, a Ford looking like a
Ford, and a Ram looking like a Dodge. The Silverado should do well. Can't wait to see the new Colorado.

@ Joe ,

What do you have against Canadians ? They are just smarter,thinner Americans !

Did you know RAM is run by a Canadian ! Also,your beloved NASA has alot of Canadian ingenuity ! The Canada Arm (spacearm) is Canadian.

By the way the RAM was designed by Americans,not Germans or Itallians,look at the RAM ProMaster,that is an Itallian job,RAM 1500,2500,3500 ect do not look like that !

My Challenger 392 SRT-8 is built by Canadians and it is a reliable,powerful,gorgeous beast ! Mercedes ruined Chrysler,materials went down ect..So far with the Itallians they brought Chrysler back up to where they left off in 1998 with better interior materials before the Germans destroyed them,or tried to !

@ papa jim,

Here in Canada Dodge is the longest lasting line of trucks.

Some Dodge's had bad transmissions I think 1995 had an issue they were recalled,as did some years of GM and Ford in the 90's.

As a former transmission guy,they all on average lasted about 110,000 miles,Dodge the same as GM,Ford and Toyota !

The main reason the Dodge trannies went early ,was wrong fluid,they dont use the same as a Ford or GM,so that destroys them early !

Never go to a quick lube place they always use the wrong engine oil or trans oil ! My 97 RAM with a 360 auto went 150,000 mi with 0 tranny problems.Just a fluid change and adjusting the bands,people dont get the bands adjusted and guess what,trans problems ! I picked up a few Dodge trucks with so-called bad trannies and just changed the fluid adjusted the bands and they shifted as good as new,but of coarse when people take it in they say you need a $3000 tranny ! LOL !!

That is the main problem with the 1990's-early 00 Caravans,wrong transmission fluid used,as with RAM trucks with the 5.2 (318),5.9 (360),8.0 (488),5.9 (359)Cummins engines.

Remember Mopar made the worlds best transmission,the 727 automatic,those had the best shift points and would almost never be destroyed ! I had several big block cars and ran them hard for 100,000 miles of burnouts/racing and never needed to replace a 727,worlds best transmission !

So far I'm not impressed. The silverado is too boxy looking. I think Ram has the best looking pickup.

@Dave, Jealous much?

Brand LOYALTY is what it's all about. GM stays true to Silverado buyers and Silverado buyers stay loyal to GM.

What happened to you? If you have Chevy roots from the 80s-90s they must have been pretty good to you. How about going back to your ROOTS and showing Chevy some loyalty for a change!?

The Silverado is the old battered down, broken down truck that just keeps getting BETTER and better.

Oh and by the way Ford took secret BAILOUT money too so don't give me any of that government motors crap.

In addition, GM is holding onto a ton of surprises for the Silverado. Much more is to come in the coming months and years!

Give it a chance.



More Capable

2014 Silverado

Ok, I didn't mention the interior earlier, I'll mention it now.

Let's say I want to put a nice CB radio in the cockpit. I want to use an SSB model (Single Sideband) for added range and additional channels. I want to place the radio where I can see it and reach the controls easily without taking my eyes too far off the road.

Where do I put it and why?

Silverado buyers will always be Silverado buyers. Isn't the idea to attract more non-Silverado buyers or former-Silverado buyers?

I owned a Silverado, once upon a time. Now I drive an F150 because it is clearly the better-built truck. And if the Atlas comes out in 2015, my next truck will probably again be an F150.

Yeah Papa Jim, I seen my Dad who bought a 1998 1500 Ram 5.9 3.91 gears, qaud cab cab, used for pulling hay trailers, and gooseneck horse and travel trailers. It hasn't had one single trans issue, engine issue, drivetrain issue. He didn't use it for daily driving either. It was either hauling, or he took the minivan (why drive a truck when a v-6 minivan gets better mileage?)

Now mind you it only has 90,000 on it, most with a trailer and you said you lived in the Ozarks, so then you would know how hilly the area south of Branson.

Of course the trans fluid gets changed about every other year, and you gotta use a little sense, don't trailer tow at 45 mph in overdrive in some hilly area.

He bought it after the 97 or 98 Ford 5.4 he bought, in his words " I knew it was a mistake within a mile from the house with the travel trailer"

He tried ALL BRANDS, being a body and fender guy. The truck before that was about an 88-90 Chevy?

Maybe you ought to look up reliability of 1500 Chevys back in the day? Bad valve bodies, ignition locks messed up. Fuel pumps messed up...on and on.

I do have a friend with 125,000 on his 99 2500 Dodge 5.9, said the trans had an issue right off the bat, they fixed it in the first 36,000, and it's been fine since. It ussually has a trailer behind it as well, as he doesn't just drive a gas eating truck when he could be driving a Focus to work and getting more then twice the mileage.

He also tells me it had 2.73 gears put in it, factory which I can't believe, but when I was told he said ask the mechanic that swapped them out for 3.73 as they shoulda been. Hard to believe.

It is no surprise that Tom has shown up in this thread to troll and spread more of his RAM propaganda in a GM thread. Does this guy have a life or a job? He posts in here all day long.

Ram 3500 is definitely the best looking pickup. If Atlas was in production, I may change my mind, but that is not guaranteed.

I think the grille is way to big. The GMC is much nicer in front.

Seems to me that drivetrains are carrying more weight these days than looks. In my opinion, what many buyers are looking at is what is under the skin. This truck's looks are growing on me, but I'm not buying one over an ecodiesel. Not a chance.

@Joe - Tom Peters was born in New Mexico. Dan Akerson is also American. Jeff Luke Chief Engineer is also American.
Ram was designed in the USA.
Ram CEO is Canadian - Reid Bigland.
Fiat CEO - Canadian/Italian - Sergio Marcionne.

Only an idiot troll would make those kinds of comments.

The new GMC is a good looking truck but as @howamm00 stated - they met the bar and didn't go over it.
The new engines will be the deal breaker but so far, they don't look like they will be kicking too many Rams, or blue ovals in the butt (unless they saved all of their tricks for the 6.2).

Fist in the wind? WTF? I'm not seeing it.

I don't like the corrugated grate look. It looks dumb on Ford, Ram, and now GMC. You can't make it look tough when it obviously is plastic.

@Greg - You sound as lame as Joe.

@Canadian - stop making our country look bad. Your "longest lasting trucks" BS is the EXACT same line used by Chevrolet in the USA.
Sounds familiar????????????????
The fine print on both the Ram and Chevy ads state - based on registration data.

I think the grille is way to big. The GMC is much nicer in front.
Posted by: Frank | May 23, 2013 9:19:45 PM

The grille is way too big, Frank? What about the grille on a Super Duty? It's nearly twice as large as the Silverado. LMAO
Keep on TROLLIN' Frankie!

I actually like the 07-13 body style better for both Chevy and GMC. My father in law has a '10 CC Silverado and I think it's pretty nice. I would buy one.

I've been driving Dodges. Love the looks and have had no problems whatsoever. Fun as heck to drive. The 4th generation Ram is an awesome truck so I will be sticking with Ram for awhile.

The new GM designs here are OK, and will keep most of the loyal GM enthusiasts, but they don't seem like they will draw anybody away from a Ford, or a Dodge, or even a Toyota. Maybe the new engines and powertrains will change that.

Anyway, just my opinion.

@Lou, Up your nose with a rubber hose!

@Greg - ouch.
Is that all you got?
Well, when one reads any of your posts, the answer is YES.

I didn't know that you were a "Welcome Back Cotter" fan or are just stuck in the '80's?

@Lou " Tom Peters was born in New Mexico. Dan Akerson is also American. Jeff Luke Chief Engineer is also American.
Ram was designed in the USA.
Ram CEO is Canadian - Reid Bigland.
Fiat CEO - Canadian/Italian - Sergio Marcionne.

Only an idiot troll would make those kinds of comments."

F*** you!:) racist troll instigating honkey!




@RevMLKjr ????
you conveniently left out @Joe's name.


only for idiots......

How do you know I am white?

see my answer for troll...............

Out of the two trucks the GMC looks way better to me. The Chevy guys cant pick on the Ford guys for huge grilles anymore. I hate the square wheel wells on both though.

@Lou, What more do you want? I already provided my analysis HERE! All you said to ME was a lame insult SO I GAVE YOU ONE BACK. Respond to the topic, Troll!

@Dave, Jealous much?

Brand LOYALTY is what it's all about. GM stays true to Silverado buyers and Silverado buyers stay loyal to GM.

What happened to you? If you have Chevy roots from the 80s-90s they must have been pretty good to you. How about going back to your ROOTS and showing Chevy some loyalty for a change!?

The Silverado is the old battered down, broken down truck that just keeps getting BETTER and better.

Oh and by the way Ford took secret BAILOUT money too so don't give me any of that government motors crap.

In addition, GM is holding onto a ton of SURPRISES for the Silverado. Much more is to come in the coming months and years!

Give it a chance.



More Capable

2014 Silverado

THE GM 6.2 numbers are OUT.

"Ram CEO is Canadian - Reid Bigland.
Fiat CEO - Canadian/Italian - Sergio Marcionne." - Lou

Lou is a racist!

Lou is a racist bigot. That is why he always talks about Mexican and Italian food to disparage others when talking Ram trucks.

If you look the ford today is look like more a truck for Sunday groceries a truck to go to the church a feminine. Pickup,what gm and dodge did is more man truck,keep driving lady's ... :))

This is the only time I actually like the old model over the new model, I guess that good because I can get a great deal on a current model.

Actually this article should tell you why GM doesn't want to compete, they even said they are after chevy truck buyers, they aren't looking to get ford and ram guys to leave and goto GM.......interesting strategy, does that mean they give up and can't catch them? Or does it mean Chevy buyers are not ones who get technology and comfort??

He should be fired, He has no idea about function and form for a truck.

This...ain't it.

I have to admit, I like the look. If GM didn't have such a horrible track record of making absolute junk, I would consider this truck. It's a nice look, and I'm sure it'll get excellent fuel economy and the drivetrain will be solid. I just can't get past their record of poor engineering and low quality though.

The problem with the grille, for me, is that it looks cheap and kind of delicate rather than strong and substantial like the Ford designs, despite their all being molded plastic.

The other reservation I have is that I think the Chevy designers should have looked at the '73 Cheyenne styling for their inspiration, and produced a cleaner design that eschews the way over-stayed cross-bar in the grille. Keeping the cross-bar (along with the same engine displacements) says "warmed-over" as opposed to all new. Look at the new Impala for a good example of how omitting that design element really evolves the look of that car, yet still pays homage to past versions.

I'm not sure about the staying true to it's roots stuff. I do like the design and it's a great square body tribute for sure as it's all square like those 73-87's. Still, what roots exactly are they talking about? I agree with Joe on one part. Chevrolet trucks never had these huge fender bulges like the current truck which is horrendous looking and this new model which is a bit better on the bulges. Still, those are not part of any Chevy trucks roots I've ever seen. 50's,60's,70's,80's,90's, none had these huge bulges. They all had really clean side profiles that looked sharp. Also, with the current truck and even moreso with the new one, they are huge compared to any truck from the past. This new 1500 is easily the size of my Super Duty. As I said, I do like the truck and I much prefer the Silverado to the Sierra once again but about the only thing heritage is the split bar grille. If you took the front grille off the truck and removed the emblems I'd have a hard time telling you what truck it is. The square body fans of the 70's-80's models will love this though. The next model they should clean up the sides and go for the older classic Chevy look of the 67-72 models or even the 1950's. Dump the square wheelwells for awhile like Ford did and Dodge has finally done. It's funny because Chevrolet had that look nailed to the floor so hard they could have patented it.

Another thing I found ridiculous about this article was the guy states Silverado buyers are not Corvette buyers. Could have fooled me. That's like the standard thing where I work when you move up in pay. First comes the new truck, then comes the Corvette. It's always been that way. There's so many Chevy guys loyal to the Silverado-Corvette combo it's not even funny. They dump ridiculous amounts of money. Chevy doesn't even know their own customers.

I like most everything about this truck design wise except 3 things, 2 of which are pretty big imo.
1) the brick wall with four eyeballs for a front end, the gmc looks way better
2) the square fender wells
3) how low the truck sits, on mike's test drive video, you can hear the frame or tow hitch drag when he entered that 6" deep river crossing !! LOL
I understand its low for aero but why not have an air suspension so you can raise it a few inches at least??
The front air dam may scrap just going in and out of driveways!!!

@Greg I think they took the 6.2 number down on couldn't find it. I did find out the new 4.3 and 5.3 HP and TQ specs with E85 though.

5.3L GAS: 355 HP @ 5600 RPM & 383 TQ @ 4100 RPM
E85: 380 HP @ 5600 & 416 TQ @ 4100 RPM

4.3L GAS: 285 HP @ 5300 RPM & 305 TQ @3900 RPM
E85: 297 HP @5300 RPM & 330 TQ @3900 RPM

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