Heavy-Duty Trucks Reign at 2019 Chicago Auto Show

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Although you wouldn't know it from the media coverage, the 2019 Chicago Auto Show will go down in history as the auto show where all four heavy-duty pickup truck makers (we're not counting the Nissan Titan XD here) revealed their latest pickups to the public. Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Ram are showcasing all-new heavy-duty models although in the case of Ram, the HDs were of the chassis-cab variety. Still, journalists came to the media preview expecting see new cars and SUVs, and an HD truck show broke out.

Related: More 2019 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

 

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Chevrolet used the Chicago show to unveil its all-new 2020 2500 and 3500 pickups, showing off the LTZ and High Country trims from the trucks' five-trim lineup. The Silverado HDs are bigger and distinctly different looking from the 2019 Silverado 1500. The interior of the HDs, however, hew close to the lighter-duty Silverado. Bed changes also follow the 1500. Our favorite upgrades are the new 10-speed Allison transmission and all-new 6.6-liter V-8 with 401 horsepower and 464 pounds-feet of torque.

 

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Ford had quite a few 2020 Super Duty trucks on the floor and nobody could tell the difference from the previous-generation 2019 models — at least that's what we heard over and over. We'll admit the grille and headlight changes aren't easy to spot, but we're pretty sure Ford has never done a Super Duty F-450 with black fender flares in front and white fender flares in back.

 

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Although we saw the 2020 GMC Sierra 2500s/3500s in San Diego a few weeks ago, this was our first chance to see the new HD pickups alongside other brands and GMC products. GMC had an off-roading Denali 3500 AT4 crew-cab dually with a Duramax engine on the show floor to communicate how much breadth the brand offers in its lineup. How come Chevy doesn't offer a Trail Boss HD?

 

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Ram's booth was dominated by work-oriented, commercial-grade chassis cabs in various stages of customization: dump beds, flat bed, wreckers, ambulances, etc. The new 2019 chassis cabs serve niche markets, so they didn't get a lot of traffic on media days. But the new Ram 5500 Limited MegaCab should appeal to the tow-loving equestrian market — and it might be the first HD truck to break the $100,000 ceiling. Ram also unveiled its Multifunction Tailgate for the 2019 Ram 1500, which made it impossible for anyone to walk past it without trying out the 60/40-split swingout doors and heavy-duty bracing.

 

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The 2019 Chicago Auto opens to the public Saturday and runs through Feb. 18 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday through Feb. 17 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 18. Admission is $13 for adults, $7 for senior citizens 62 or older and children ages 7-12, and free for kids 6 or younger with a parent or guardian. For more information, go to the show's website.

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Cars.com photos by Mark Williams, Aaron Bragman

 

Comments

I've concluded that the Big 3 hired psychologists to figure out what drives guys to choose the particular "look" of a truck. All of the newer HDs have a very over-stated kisser. Go figure!

The GMs both look better than their respective half ton trucks and the Ford HD looks WAY better than the F150. RAM designers in my opinion have left everybody else in the rearview mirror this cycle.

I'm afraid of Americans. I'm afraid of HD trucks.

The Ford has a black fender flare on the front, it does not have a flare on the back it is part of the fender. On upper trims the front flares are color matched.

Never done?

2019:

http://worktrucks.barberfordinc.net/exeter/work-trucks/pickup/ford/2019/f-450/1293/9801t/

When is GM going to figure out how to design a decent looking frontend? Gawd, that thing is ugly!

GM still has the guy who designed the Aztek designing their trucks. Barf.

Look at the creative design gone into the Ford wheel well openings. Did they trace the outline of the tire? Who would have thunk it.

GM still has the guy who designed the Aztek designing their trucks. Barf.

Jeff,

That is what I have concluded as well.

papahim's 🍕

I'm looking forward to "subtly" replacing "gaudy" in the design process but fear I may be waiting a very long time...

Isn't it time for one of the manufactures to come out with a retro look? Something well executed, though...NOT like the SSR!

The front of the Ford looks a lot like the late 90's early 2000's super duty. it is not a bad look.

@Greg B. -- Thanks for the heads up. We're going to follow up on this. Does anyone know what possible logical or illogical reason there might be for this? Just with F-450? I'm reaching out to Ford folks as well but any info in the meantime would be great.

What would be great to see is the HD manufacturers produce cheaper diesel trucks. Isuzu could let GM use their 5.4 litre 4 pot. Cummins make a 3.8 litre 4 pot. VM must have a 4 or 5 litre diesel.

These engines could be used in bare as bones real work trucks.

This would offer trucks more suitable to wider range of applications.

The higher trimmed trucks are pretty, but they are not quite commercial vehicles.

Or you could just dial it back to 1994 and offer half-ton gas V8 pickups with heavy-duty hubs, wheels, springs, brakes and axles. Work-truck interiors, vinyl seat covers, rubber floor mats.

Air conditioner optional. Would anybody select the manual trans option?

@ Mark : Is the F-450 front axle track wider than the F-350 and F-250. I assume it is and the flares are to control wheel splash.

To me, these HD's are the best and most exciting pickup lineup to date! Highest payloads, highest towing capacities, more powerful engines, new transmissions, nice camera options for towing, even some of the beds have more capacity. There are so many things to like about all of them, about the only thing that I don't like is the price.

My question is, will this be the last generation of even remotely affordable and yet capable trucks? It looks increasingly likely that fuel economy requirements are going to go way up in the not too distant future, and fossil fuel powered trucks might even be eliminated through regulation.

Love that white HD Ford w/short bed; match it with the new 7.3 V8, 10 speed, it would be a beast...

It looks increasingly likely that fuel economy requirements are going to go way up in the not too distant future, and fossil fuel powered trucks might even be eliminated through regulation.
Posted by: Texas1836 | Feb 9, 2019

Not as long as you don't vote for the Green Team. Our current president wants to end the restrictive CAFE and EPA requirements that have been strangling product development in the auto industry and killing oil exploration and development in the field.

@papa

I don't think you or I will be voting for the 'green team', but plenty of other people will. I think they might be releasing more details on the 'green new deal' next week. One thing that I did not realize is they would like to eliminate beef in addition to all fossil fuel use within 10 years. Want to fly back and see Grandma back in Germany...no, you can't, but you can take a solar powered ship over there, after you take the train to the port. My family is from Texas, I am not sure that I am interested in giving up my beef, though some say that the tofu substitute is just as good.

Electric vehicles are not going to be an end all be all. They don't preform well in cold weather, and they don't work when the power goes out from a natural disaster.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/aaa-study-confirms-that-cold-weather-can-sap-electric-car-ranges

@Ron

Thanks for sharing. I did see that, though I would have guessed that the drop would have been more like 20%, so it was worse than I thought. I am not opposed to electric vehicles, but I am opposed to having them mandated. I think they would be particularly problematic with trucks, but at least we would get to pay considerably more for the trucks to make up for that.

I don't necessarily think you need to vote green for some logical change. EV commercial vehicles could be used for inner city work.

Smaller engines that are economical, is, diesel can be used for most suburban applications. Think airlines and their business models. Airlines optimise their "vehicles"

A better selection of commercial vehicles and suitableregulations would provide the cheapest options for business people. This would involve the US opening up its commercial vehicle market in a capitalistic, freemarket.

Efficiency gains and optimisation of commercial vehicles in the US can be realised without EVs.

@ Lio

Agree, that single cab ford looks pretty good. Make it a non dually with matching flares on back and 2wd and that thing would be a sleeper hot rod with that 7.3L big block

Re: F-450

Correct me if I'm wrong. The 450 has a wider front axle that requires a flare. On XL it's not painted. XLT and up is body color. Rear doesn't have a flare, it's built into the dually fender already. Putc be used to the high roller Platinum and Limited F450s.

One thing that I did not realize is they would like to eliminate beef in addition to all fossil fuel use within 10 years...

@Texas1836

Wrong. Don't be fooled.

No different than all the other so called causes espoused by the left during the last 80 years, what they really demand is obedience and unopposed political power. When the left said "no more prayer in public schools" they didn't care a whit either way about prayer---but they did demand full control of a a public system that had worked just fine in America for over 150 years. They replaced that with a system that is 100 percent dysfunctional today, and they refuse to account for it. Ditto with health insurance and a hundred other things I could bore you with.

We have a system of public transport and travel that is the envy of the world. America's left is out to dominate it! With so called Safety legislation and silly crap like CAFE and EPA they are on track to succeed.

I don't necessarily think you need to vote green for some logical change. EV commercial vehicles could be used

@Texas1836

The above quote comes to us courtesy of a guy who refuses to acommodate. If you ask him for consideration or debate he will pester you until you stop coming to this site. I can name you a long list of guys who no longer post here because of him.

He claims to favor private alternatives and "capitalistic" approaches but his favorite systems and places are universally dominated by the political left. Good luck with that. As I've said quite a few times, there are a couple of dozen places on earth that struggle with air pollution to such an extent that alternatives to internal combustion have become mainstream. They are the exception.

The huge majority of the world's residents do not require the oppressive regimes proposed by the left to manage pollution and safety.

Electric vehicle propulsion is an interesting and practical approach for those relatively few places that have serious air quality concerns. For the rest of us, replacing internal combustion will virtually kill the existing system, which is exactly what the left has in mind.

Why does the left promote oversees trade? Shipping product all over the world on giant ships that burn millions of gallons of fossil fuels. Buying locally made goods is going to be a big thing in the future, you can bet on it.

These HD pickups are not about building trucks that people need, it is about corporate greed. Take a company's highest profit margin vehicle and exploit a lack of federal regulations compared to light duty pickups or big tractor trailers to increase the executives bottom line. Then have a mass firing of your employees once they start production.

We had prayer in school. I thought it useful to help me through another day of Catholic education but did not see how it helped in any way. So why does prayer stop after a certain level of education. Perhaps by then people realized most could think for themselves. Why not prayer in College or trade schools? Why is it up to the schools to teach religion when it should be taught at home.

exploit a lack of federal regulations compared to light duty pickups or big tractor trailers to increase the executives bottom line. Then have a mass firing of your employees once they start production...Posted by: Make trucks great again | Feb 10, 2019

@mtga

Your ignorance of the facts involved is stunning. It's clear you have never owned or operated a business that was subject to government regulation on any level, esp. federal regs.

Why not prayer in College or trade schools? Why is it up to the schools to teach religion when it should be taught at home.
Posted by: Daren | Feb 10, 2019

@Daren

Something was happening at your school but it clearly was not education. Private (and public) prayer was a crucial part of daily life during the first 100 years of our republic.

The nation's founders all agreed that public virtue and acknowledgement of the creator was essential to the continued health of the people. Their writing is full of references to the almighty and the critical importance of personal and public virtue.

Sorry that part of your education was lacking.

@Make trucks great again

These HD pickups are not about building trucks that people need, it is about corporate greed. Take a company's highest profit margin vehicle and exploit a lack of federal regulations compared to light duty pickups or big tractor trailers to increase the executives bottom line. Then have a mass firing of your employees once they start production.

I have a different take, I think they are trying to build trucks that people want, but agree that they are not necessarily what people need. CAFE requirements still apply to the HD class of pickups, that is one of the reasons we are seeing 10 speed transmissions, new gas engines, some light-weighting, and diesel engines. Yes, they are high profit vehicles...but the electric vehicles have been huge losers so far...the truck profits subsidize electric car development. Virtually all of GM's blue collar work force being let go are actually being placed in other GM jobs, including 1,000 at the Flint, MI HD truck plant. Ford will be announcing their job reductions in the next month or two...these job reductions at Ford and GM are related to the big dropoff in car sales that we have seen in the last few years, rendering many of the car lines unprofitable. I for one, would rather see the 'Corporate greed' continue, e.g., keep the company profitable, so that we can keep people working over the long run, and avoid a future bankruptcy. I am not a fan of the huge pay the Corporate Executives often make, but at the same time, I don't hate them for it. Economics is NOT a zero-sum game where the 'rich' get rich by stealing money from the poor. At this point, the middle class is doing better than they have for at least a decade or longer, all while the rich are getting richer. Unemployment is right at all-time lows, including for the African-American and Hispanic communities. Did you know that before Hugo Chavez became dictator in Venezuela, that they were the richest Latin American nation? He promised to re-distribute the wealth...look what happened to them...yet now, our own political far-left wants to implement many of the same policies here, all in the name of equality...we could all be equal, just like in Venezuela...equally poor and miserable.

I agree with Jeff. I can see the Aztec styling in GMs new H.D. Maybe GM is trying to scare other drivers to get out of the way

@Texas 1836
Thank you for thoughtful post, well said
I could not agree more.

@Texas1836--Agree. Short-term the current President and the current Senate will not allow stricter fuel and emission standards but the problem for the auto and truck makers is that they cannot rely on less regulation or no regulation when planning long term. Even if the current President is re-elected that is still short term. There could very well be a swing to more left leaning elected officials especially with the younger generations coming of age and if they decide to vote. So much is unknown and if you are a manufacturer you have to prepare for the worst case scenario otherwise you get caught unprepared. I also agree with you that the price of these HD trucks will continue to go up along with all trucks. Just the sheer size and weight of the HD trucks make it more difficult to comply with stricter fuel standards and smaller motors. You could be correct that eventually ICE vehicles could be regulated out of existence but I believe that is many years away and that there will be push back from not only the manufacturers but much of the public.

Ram HDs are by far the sharpest looking of any of the HDs. Ram has really done their homework.

Memo to Robert Ryan and the sheep rancher in Os.

Dubai (AFP) - The International Monetary Fund on Sunday warned governments to gear up for a possible economic storm as growth undershoots expectations. ..."The bottom-line -- we see an economy that is growing more slowly than we had anticipated," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told the World Government Summit.

Could not help but think of our friends from Australia who invariably argue that the US economy is sharply declining compared to global economies in places like the western Pacific and Asia.

Papa,
There is no god/s. The creator is all based on science, physics to be precise.

Take that huge earth quake and tsunami that hit SE Asia (even discounting all other disasters). Over 250 000 lives lost. How can your god or whatever you believe in be allowed to do this. If he didn't do this who did?

I call your god weak. If you created a disaster like that where would you be now? WWII had people that horrible.

Faith in humanity is the best anyone can do. Children create imaginary beliefs.

Thanks FXDX1450 and Jeff s, I appreciate your kind words.

Big (you know who) thinks he's a philosopher.

Your questions/comments about the nature of the creator rank right up there with middle-school aged kids and their ideas.

Take a look at the Magna Carta some time. If you aren't familiar with it you might learn something. Perhaps you haven't looked at is lately. Either way, it might help you.

Anyone know if they will make a GM version of this topper to fit my truck?

https://www.ford-trucks.com/articles/awesome-or-aw-hell-no-fastback-truck-bed-cap/

CAFE standards do not apply to vehicles over 8550lb GVWR, the EPA uses green house gas (GHG) emission instead. GHG is measured in grams of CO2 per mile emitted for the above 8550lb rated fleet from a particular manufacturer. The amount of CO2 allowed is based on what is called the Work Factor (WF). Work Factor is a weighted summation of each vehicle's payload and towing capability as sold, for all sales. The higher the payload and the higher the gcwr (tow rating), the higher the amount of grams of CO2 allowed. 350/450/550/650 and Vans perform better to GHG limits than 250s. 60% of all HD pickup sales are not fleet or primary business use, they are mostly personal use 250s with high option and profit content. The golden GVWR limit for 250s is 10,000lb GVWR, over which various FMCSA and state rules apply to truck and driver when used for commercial purposes or a hint of commercial. The incentive for the manufacturer is to increase GCWR on all HD models and payload on their above 10,000 GVWR combinations to get corporate spec for GHG limit high so that sales of higher profit 250s are not limited or EPA imposes a penalty.

@make trucks great again

I apologize for calling it CAFE, when in this case it is 'fuel consumption standards'. I guess to me it is irrelevant whether it is called CAFE or 'fuel consumption standards', essentially they mean the same thing. You pointed out earlier, that this class was unregulated or not regulated enough for fuel economy. We have both shown that it is regulated. Here is a copy/paste directly from NHTSA.GOV:

NHTSA's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards regulate how far our vehicles must travel on a gallon of fuel. NHTSA sets CAFE standards for passenger cars and for light trucks (collectively, light-duty vehicles), and separately sets fuel consumption standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and engines.

All three HD's look amazing & can't wait for PUTC's next comparison tests. A reminder to all; only Ford's power plants were designed-built in-house (FCA's Cummins engine and Aisin transmission suppliers plus GM's use of Isuzu engines & Allison trannies).
Ford's latest 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 marks the third generation of in-house Power Stroke diesels since parting ways from Navistar in 2010.

@Lionel

All of the automakers use outsourcing, why is that a problem? Yes Ford designed their new diesel, but it is actually built in Mexico. Duramax was designed and built by a joint Isuzu/GM venture (GM owns majority share) in the USA. Allison transmission was a wholly owned subsidiary of GM until a few years ago. As for Cummins, it is an excellent diesel engine, maybe the best their is in HD trucks. The Allison 1000 transmission very likely is the best transmission in the segment. I also believe that the powerstroke and duramax are very good engines. I really don't know much about the Aisin transmission, I think it is made by a Toyota owned company.

@Lionel
The Ford engine was designed by a Austrian dedigner of Marine engines
Block was cast by Tupy in Brazil. Others were also involved in this " All Ford Engine"

Papajim
Your f confusing strength of the economy with the fortunes of the individual companies Australian economy is quite strong but GM is floundering. GM and Ford are not doing well in the US

Actually Robert I was looking at the dreadful figures for Australian consumer spending.

Household consumption, the largest part of the Aussie economy, grew by just 0.3% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2018.

This looks pretty tepid when we look at USA figures underlining the best employment figures since WW2.

Maybe when our president is finished fixing the American economy you guys can borrow him for a while.

@Make trucks great again

"The higher the payload and the higher the gcwr (tow rating), the higher the amount of grams of CO2 allowed. 350/450/550/650 and Vans perform better to GHG limits than 250s. 60% of all HD pickup sales are not fleet or primary business use, they are mostly personal use 250s with high option and profit content."

When trucks have to do more work such as carry more weight, or tow more, they have to use heavier frames, suspensions, axles, as well as more powerful and heavier engines and transmissions. I hardly see it as a loophole that the heavier work a truck is asked to do, that fuel economy requirements are lower (this is equiavelent to CO2 limits). The heavier a vehicle gets (everything else being equal), the worse fuel economy it gets. As for non-commercial use, many people tow trailers that weigh in excess of 15,000 pounds, whether it be horse trailers or rv trailers or whatever else...seems to me it is legitimate for these people to own and operate an HD truck. Would you like the Government to decide which vehicle each of us is allowed to own?

@Texas & Robert; of course they all outsource, just some more than others. The 7.3 will be assembled in Ontario Canada & 6.7 in Mexico to keep manufacturing costs at bay...

But it doesn't take away the fact Ford is now the only one with full control of their own in-house designs with constant improvements for their ever evolving needs for their various size trucks.

The new 7.3 is very interesting, just when you thought they were all going direction of smaller turbo power plants.... Hopefully it could make way into next gen Raptor & solve all the engine sound qualms plus allow the numbers to be upped into 700-1000 hp/tq territory (with a super-charger of course:-)

@Lionel

Don't get me wrong, I like Ford's, and I like the Ford scorpion diesel 6.7. But, I think that GM has pretty good control over anything that happens with the Duramax joint venture in Ohio, USA. I am confident GM gives all of the direction and makes all of the decisions, as they own 60% of Duramax. Though I think this really doesn't matter anyway. Dodge Ram own's 0% of Cummins, and I think there diesel is about as good as it gets (I am glad that Ram owns 0% of Cummins).

As for the new Ford 7.3, I am downright excited about that one! A presumably well designed pushrod engine such as the 7.3 can be very durable. Will be super interesting to see the hp/torque figures...my wild guess is 440 horsepower/500 ft-lbs of torque. It probably won't get as good of fuel economy as the new GM 6.6 gasser, since the 7.3 is larger and is relying on port injection, but hopefully it will be relatively efficient as well.



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