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Auto blogWed, 10 Jul 2013 14:30:00 EST
According to a report by France's La Tribune cited by Reuters, General Motors and Peugeot are discussing the possibility of selling PSA Peugeot-Citroën commercial vans in the US through The General's dealership network. While specific models and what brand they may sell under stateside are not immediately clear, the move isn't entirely out of the blue, particularly since GM owns seven percent of the French automaker.
Peugeot and GM already have a joint-venture agreement to ease costs associated with vehicle development and procuring parts, and while the progress of the arrangement has been inhibited some by Europe's difficult economy, the two automakers are looking to expand the relationship. With sales in the dumpster, Peugeot's long-term prospects have looked particularly shaky as of late, and GM could use a modern commercial van lineup to better compete with North America's suddenly modern and Euro-fied competition. Mercedes-Benz kicked off the high-roof trend with its Sprinter, and for 2014, Ford is following with its Transit van (joining its smaller Transit Connect sibling), while Chrysler is leveraging its relationship with Fiat to rebrand the Ducato range of vans as Ram Promaster models.
Peugeot already has a full line of commercial van solutions in its stable, from its compact Partner and Bipper models to the larger Expert and Boxer models, which are available in a variety of cargo and people-carrying configurations.
Big And Boxy Might Be Best
As immense fans of the Back to the Future trilogy, we sometimes like to envision an alternate timeline in which General Motors had killed off GMC and kept Pontiac instead. The G8 GXP would still be on the road handily beating German sport sedans costing twice as much, while the lowly G3 would morph into a true subcompact-killer based on what is now the Chevrolet Sonic RS. While we're at it, let's go ahead and imagine the G6 has become the best-selling car in the US and the Torrent crossover is selling 20,000+ units per month. Far-fetched, we know.
The thing is, these fanciful statements would have to be true to make the case against keeping GMC. Pontiac may have offered more excitement than GMC, but money talks, and a full line of trucks, crossovers and SUVs have made a lot more money for GM than the arrowhead brand ever did. How much? As we learned last month, about two-thirds of GM's global profits came from its fullsize trucks, and GMC's trucks typically have thicker margins than their Chevrolet counterparts.
Chevrolet has thrown down the next hand in the pickup truck poker wars and revealed at least a couple of potential aces - depending on which numbers matter most to you. The 2014 2014 Silverado 1500 with its 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 gets 335 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, is mated to a six-speed automatic, can tow 11,500 pounds with the optional Max Trailer Package and costs the same as the outgoing Silverado, $24,585 (*including $995 destination fee). Chevy says the Silverado also stands atop the fuel economy charts when comparing any competitor with a V8 engine - and some competitors with V6 engines. The two-wheel drive model returns 16 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway, 19 mpg combined in two-wheel drive guise and 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined as a four-wheel drive.
For context around those numbers, the most fuel efficient V8-powered 2013 Ford F-150 pickups lose about two mpg in every metric compared to the Silverado, the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost returning 16 city, 18 highway and 22 combined in two-wheel drive. However, that EcoBoost does have 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. You can get a Ram 1500 with a 3.6-liter V6 that gets 25 mpg highway, but it has 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The 2013 Ram with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and its 395 hp and 407 lb-ft drops one mpg in every category to the Silverado. Its tow rating is 200 pounds beyond its nearest competitor, the F-150 with the Max Trailer Tow Package.
Elsewhere, the new Silverado gets a quieter cab with a redesigned interior, a new bed with improved load-management possibilities, disc brakes all around, tweaked steering and suspension, along with free standard scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles.