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Auto blogMon, 21 Oct 2013 17:44:00 EST
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.
Ford's extensive use of aluminum in its 2015 F-150 is a big deal. A really big deal. Big enough, in fact, that General Motors is reportedly changing its fullsize pickup strategy. According to The Wall Street Journal, The General has locked in partnerships with Alcoa Inc. and Novelis Inc. - companies that will supply aluminum for the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks.
"Ford's introduction of the 2015 F-150 pickup truck was a game changer, and it's the first, not the last, conversion of this type," Novelis spokesperson Charles Belbin told the Journal. The switch to aluminum has allowed Ford to shave roughly 700 pounds off its fullsize truck's curb weight. And while official mileage ratings have not been announced, the weight loss should go a long way for improving efficiency, especially when combined other efficiency-minded improvements including better aerodynamics and new, turbocharged V6 engines.
Of course, aluminum-bodied cars are nothing new. But extensive use of aluminum in a major, best-selling product like the Ford F-150 is expected to kick off widespread use of this weight-saving material as availability rises and cost decreases. The WSJ reports that GM had originally explored the idea of moving to aluminum pickups back in 2008, but abandoned the idea due to cost concerns amid economic woes.
General Motors has finally dropped the curtain on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra. Both trucks have undergone substantial revisions with updated versions of the company's 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8 and 6.2-liter V8 engines. In a shot across the bows of both Ford and Chrysler, GM says it won't use a V6 engine adapted from passenger car applications. Instead, it developed the 4.3-liter engine based on its proven truck-duty architecture.
All three mills will boast direct injection fuel systems as well as a new cylinder head design. Combined with a revised piston, the new engines feature a smaller combustion chamber with a compression ratio of 11:1 or higher depending on the application. Cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing are all part of the recipe, and each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with auto grade breaking. So far, no fuel economy or horsepower figures have been released, though GM says the new engines will best their predecessors in both areas.
Outside, the trucks feature a number of enhancements to reduce drag and wind noise, and GM claims both the Silverado and Sierra will offer buyers some of the quietest cabins in the class. Extended cab models now feature front-hinged rear doors to allow easier access to the back passenger area, and Crew Cab buyers can now select between a five-foot, eight-inch bed or a six-foot, six-inch bed. Buyers with a mind toward going off road will also rejoice in the return of the Z71 package, complete with Rancho shocks, front tow hooks and additional under-body protection.