Report: GM Puts Pickup Trucks on ‘Strict Diet’
General Motors Corp. is preparing to put its full-sized pickup trucks on a severe diet to meet future U.S. fuel economy standards and stay competitive with rival Ford Motor Co., according to several people familiar with its plans.
But, according to a report by Automotive News, GM likely won’t be able to implement an extensive weight reduction program until the just-redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are overhauled again in 2019, according to supplier sources. That is five years after Ford plans to slash at least 700 pounds from its best-selling F-150 pickup as part of a fall 2014 redesign.
More efficient engines and transmissions will help reduce fuel consumption on the big GM and Ford trucks, but the biggest gains are likely to come from shedding weight. The trucks are prime towing vehicles for the RV industry.
Even though GM’s 2014 Silverado and Sierra lost between 250 to 400 pounds as part of a complete makeover this summer, the lightest Silverado still tips the scale at 4,387 pounds.
GM “didn’t go far enough in terms of weight reduction and powertrain improvements” when it developed the 2014 Silverado and Sierra, according to an industry consultant who works directly with the U.S. automakers.
Now, he said, the automaker has no choice, but to “send ’em to Jenny Craig” — a reference to the popular consumer diet and weight-loss program.
Prior to the 2019 launch of the next-generation Silverado and Sierra, GM is planning a series of rolling changes over the next few years to the trucks, which just went on sale six weeks ago as redesigned 2014 models.
GM will begin to use more lightweight materials such as aluminum and composites, in place of conventional steel, several suppliers said.
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