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Auto blogTue, 15 Jul 2014 17:33:00 EST
Fans of truck-based, light-duty vans can officially pour one out for the Chevrolet Express 1500 and GMC Savana 1500, as General Motors has officially put its long-serving big/little rigs out to pasture. Things aren't quite as sad as they sound, though. The heavier-duty 2500 and 3500 vans will soldier on, in order to duke it out with the largest members of Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter families.
The move does seem to make a lot of sense. According to GM, customers only purchase the 1500-spec Chevrolet 23 percent of the time, while the GMC captures a mere 7 percent of the Savana family's sales. With numbers like that, it's no shock that GM thinks it can shift some of its buyers into its van family's more capable variants. "We knew we could move a lot of our 1500 customers into 2500-series territory," said GM's Joe Langhauser, the product manager for the company's full-size vans.
It's not just simple sales figures dictating the move, though. The 1500 line is taking up some valuable factory space that will be better spent on an eagerly anticipated new product.
The backlash is beginning. Following General Motors' price hike of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra last week, dealers across the country are expressing their ire over increasing prices in the face of rebates and discounts on trucks from Ford and Ram.
Speaking to Automotive News, Sam Pilato, the general manager at Dimmitt Chevrolet in Clearwater, FL, Silverados are "selling very poorly." W. Carrol Smith, the president of Monument Chevrolet in the heart of truck country, Texas, said, "[GM's] position is that the vehicle stands on its own and it doesn't need a bigger rebate. That's not what the market is telling us."
According to AN, that's the general attitude amongst Chevy and GMC dealers across the country, where the twin pickups are getting butchered in sales by competitors offering up to $9,000 off their sticker prices. Part of the problem for GM is that its trucks are arriving on the market near the end of the current F-150's lifecycle, a fact that Ford has taken advantage of.
We met the redesigned 2015 versions of the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL at the 2013 LA Auto Show. Improved gas mileage numbers have been announced to go along with the improved exteriors and interiors, with city mileage improving by seven percent and highway mileage going up by nearly ten percent; you'll now get 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway.
The only applies to models with the 5.3-liter engine, though, not the premium Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali SUVs with the 6.2-liter motor. Still, the 5.3 gets you more power than previously, with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque underfoot, on top of the improved fuel economy numbers. The 6.2-liter sticks with official mpg ratings of 15 highway, 21 city. There's a brief press release below with words straight from the horse's mouth.