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GM Touting V-6 Pickup Engine With Dealer Body

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November 13, 2013 by   Leave a Comment

More than 100 Chevrolet dealership product trainers and field reps are tooling around in 2014 Silverados — all with the 4.3-liter V-6 engine under the hood.

As reported by Automotive News, the program is intended to send a message to General Motors’ 3,000 Chevrolet dealerships that the six-banger in the redesigned pickup is a leap forward from that of the last-generation truck, and salespeople need to spread that gospel to prospective buyers.

It has been a tough sell so far. As of early October, V-6 models accounted for just 10 percent of Silverado sales, roughly in line with V-6 sales of the outgoing truck. GM ultimately expects a take rate of nearly 20 percent and says V-6 sales will increase as the rollout of the redesigned ’14s expands.

To move more V-6s, GM last month began offering a $3,000 credit to dealers who put V-6 Silverado models into a daily rental or loaner fleet, for sale as new within a few months.

Dealers “are really rediscovering that V-6 compared to the old one,” Don Johnson, Chevrolet’s U.S. vice president of sales and service, said last month.

The V-6 is part of a new family of GM large engines that was upgraded to include direct injection and an improved combustion system that allows more efficient fuel consumption. The V-6 Silverado puts out 285 hp and 305 pounds-feet of torque — up from 195 hp and 260 pounds-feet in the ’13 pickup.

GM also added cylinder deactivation, which shuts fuel to two of the six cylinders under light loads, coaxing fuel economy of 18 mpg city/24 highway for two-wheel-drive models, up from 15 city/20 highway for a comparable ’13.

At recent drive events, Chevrolet marketing reps have occasionally sent test drivers off in a V-6, letting them think they’re behind the wheel of a V-8. They’re usually hard-pressed to tell the difference, a GM spokeswoman says.

Dealers agree that it’s a much-improved engine but say most buyers believe anything but V-8 power just won’t do. And dealers say that Chevy’s 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6 lacks the brand cachet of Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

“The new V-6 has plenty of power. It’s not tremendously different than the V-8,” says Mike Shook, general manager of Lewis Chevrolet-Cadillac in Garden City, Kan. “But it takes a real salesman to get somebody into one.”

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