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After seven long years, GM has finally given its lineup of half-ton pickups a refresh, both of which were revealed today.
Top 10 Best Selling Pickups
The pickup truck is an icon that embodies the working spirit. It’s every blue collar employee’s calling card and farmer’s best friend. Truck buyers grow especially close to their vehicles as trucks are a key tool in earning a living, depending on them to last through days and years of service.
10. Chevrolet Corvette: 86.9%
Last month we reported the top 10 cars with the highest percentage of female owners, and now we have a less-than-surprising list of top 10 cars with the highest percentage of male buyers. The list is courtesy InsideLine with the data provided by Polk and reflects total purchases made last year in 2011.
Coming in at number 10 with 86.9 percent of its owners being male is the Chevrolet Corvette. Arguably the most iconic sports car in American history, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of them are owned and driven by men. In fact, there are few surprises on this list considering most of the vehicles are dream cars of teenage boys, or those suffering a mid-life crisis.
Chevrolet and GMC have announced the debut of new bi-fuel Silverado and Sierra 2500 HD pickup trucks for 2013, both of which are powered by a Vortec 6.0-liter V8 that can seamlessly transition between standard gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG).
The bi-fuel technology allows the trucks to have a range of more than 650 miles. Both pickups are available as standard bed or long-boxes with either two- or four-wheel drive. GM is currently the only manufacturer that offers a single-source option for its gaseous fuel vehicles. The bi-fuel Silverado and Sierra are built with the specially-designed 6.0-liter V8 and the fuel system is installed by General Motors’ Tier One supplier.
“The bi-fuel Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra provide customers with choices in advanced propulsion technology, and because CNG is a clean-burning, domestically produced fuel, it has wide appeal,” said Ed Peper, general manager, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “The addition of a full-size bi-fuel pickup truck to GM’s fleet portfolio is another milestone in putting the customer first in everything we do – by offering great products, innovative solutions and a great customer experience.”
Cautious buyers will be pleased to hear that the bi-fuel trucks will come with GM’s three-year, 36,000-mile warranty and a five-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and vehicle emissions warranty. GM said it’s the most extensive warranty offered by any automaker on their commercial products.
Both fleet and retail consumers may place orders in April, although pricing details aren’t available yet.
GALLERY: 2013 Bi-Fuel Chevrolet Silverado HD
Scheduled to hit dealer lots next year as a 2014 model year is GM’s newly redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, but it appears that those two trucks will just be the tip of the iceberg. Now it’s a possibility that GM may be considering extensively redesigning all of their upcoming pickups.
It’s believed that the new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will not only offer better fuel economy, but a new chassis is also expected with the exterior and interior of the pickups entirely changed. In addition, improved aerodynamics will go along with engine improvements, a lightened load and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Such an overhaul is no surprise as GM has been investing heavily into new technology to improve fuel economy. And with the success of the Ford F-150 EcoBoost, GM knows what they can get away with in the pickup market.
Next year we should be seeing the redesigned 1500 pickups but it’s expected that revamped 2500 and 3500 variants will make an appearance a year later. Expect a ton of engineering improvements to occur across all of GM’s pickups in the next few years.
[Source: Automotive News]
Men in the U.S. went big, brawny and sporty in 2011 – that is, when it came to the kind of vehicles they bought this past year.
According to J.D. Power’s Power Information Network (PIN) real-time transaction data, men leaned towards sports cars and pickup trucks in the first 11 months of 2011. In fact, out of the top 10 new-model vehicles that men bought or leased, six of them were large pickup trucks or vans. Topping the list of model pickups and vans were the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado. The data shows that these vehicles were purchased for commercial uses, not necessarily for dropping kids off at soccer practice.
Also in the top 10 models were three cool sports cars – BMW M3 , the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette. The M3 had highest number of male car buyers in the sports category, with most of these buyers falling into the 16- to 35-year-old demographic. The Porsche 911 was the second top pick, followed closely by the Corvette.
Also making the 2011 list is the GMC Sierra, the Audi A8/S8, the Ford Econoline and the Chevrolet Express. One of the new entries on the list this year is the Chevrolet Volt, although it didn’t crack the top 10.
[Source: J.D. Power and Associates]
12. Toyota Camry
While automakers and outside research firms publish sales figures and earnings reports on a regular basis, one metric we rarely get a glimpse of is how profitable each vehicle is. In an era of re-badging and platform sharing, one would think that the most profitable vehicles are those with a large number of derivatives to spread the cost around. But a new report from Bernstein Research suggests that two factors – price point and volume – are the keys to making big bucks off vehicles. And judging by the list, longevity seems to help as well.
Number 12 on the list is the Toyota Camry, and for good reason. The Camry has a number of factors in its favor – massive volumes, an accessible price point and its made in America (currency fluctuations, particularly a rise in the euro or yen, can make exports unprofitable). Bernstein’s report notes that high volume cars at a medium price point are one of the keys to profitability, and the Camry might be the textbook definition of this formula. The Camry’s twin, the Lexus ES350, was absent from the list, but no doubt earns its keep, as a gilded version of the Camry.
You’ve probably heard of Costco members getting incentives to buy new vehicles at dealers on your local radio. However, one automaker; General Motors is taking things a step further, teaming up with the wholesale giant to sell select Chevy/GMC pickups and SUVs through a number of authorized retailers for a no haggle “preferred price.”
In addition, eligible buyers will also receive a $500 Costco Cash Card for further savings on the price of a new truck. As part of the program, GM will display vehicles at Costco outlets across the country, which according to a company spokesman for the General; Jim Cain, enables the automaker to “reach people in a unique setting outside of a dealership.”
The “preferred” price actually varies from vehicle to vehicle, though according to Cain, will be similar to incentives offered to employees of GM suppliers, who currently receive discounts on new cars and trucks.
Eligible vehicles in the Costco program include the 2011/2012 Chevy Silverado, Tahoe and Surburan as well as the Traverse, plus their GMC equivalents, Sierra; Yukon, Yukon XL and Acadia.
In order to participate, Costco members have to register online with the Costco Auto Program or call a special phone number. They must also complete surveys and redemption forms after purchasing a vehicle in order to receive the $500 Cash Card.
[Source: Automotive News]
General Motors will idle its Fort Wayne, Indiana plant for one week in November to help bring pickup truck production in line with slowing demand.
The plant will be idled for the week of November 7th, and no Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra pickups will be produced at that time. GM has reported a 108 day supply of full-size pickups for the month of August, while an 80-day supply is considered a normal figure. GM said that sales of the Silverado and Sierra are up 7 and 18 percent respectively.
[Source: Automotive News]
Ford was seen as taking a big gamble when it reintroduced V6 engines into its full-size pickup trucks. But the gamble has paid off and now the Blue Oval’s domestic rivals will look to do the same.
With plans for the Ram 1500 to get Chrysler’s new Pentastar V6 engine, look for GM’s Silverado and Sierra twins to offer a V6 option as well.
While also looking to develop the 5.3-liter V8 used in the current rucks, GM is also said to be planning a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine that could be offered in everything from Cadillac models to trucks, as part of the automaker’s plan to cut the number of engines and platforms in half.
Currently, the GM 5.3-liter V8 comes close to the fuel economy of the Ford EcoBoost engine, although power is down somewhat with the 5.3L making 315 hp and 335 pounds-feet of torque, compared to 365-hp and 420 lb-ft in the Ford. The smaller-displacement GM V6 turbo might have trouble laying own the same numbers as the Ford engine, but should handily beat it in fuel economy.
[Source: AutoNews via Cnet]
Back in 2008, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a law that made it illegal to idle your new diesel powered truck, if it had a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 lbs, for more than five minutes.
This basically means most chassis cabs and trucks with more than a 1 ton capacity, think Ram chassis cabs (like the one shown above), Ford’s F-450 Super Duty, as well as class 6 and 7 rigs, vehicles most often used in delivery and construction.
Traditionally, most trucks used for such tasks were often found idling for extended periods, primarily for convenience, such as frequent stop/start driving or powering accessories, such as refrigerators and heavy equipment.
However, an engine tends to be at it’s least efficient when idling, as well as producing the greatest amount of oxides of nitrogen (smog). The CARB ruling required that in order to certify diesel trucks for California, automakers had to meet an idle emissions standard of 30 grams of NOx per hour.
One way of doing this is by injecting urea into the exhaust stream and employing a special catalytic converter, to convert it into nitrogen and water vapor, as employed on Dodge’s 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. As a result, these trucks and others that meet the idle test standard, receive special Exemption Stickers, meaning they can now idle indefinitely.
Despite Ford’s aggressive marketing campaign for its new, more ‘fuel efficient’ engines in the 2011 F-series, along with currently high fuel prices, GM has said it has no plans to move up the launch of its updated full-size twins, the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Speaking at a press conference, GM’s CEO Dan Akerson said “trucks would not be a program we move up in a mileage sensitive market.”
That said, the General does have plans to speed up the introduction of some passenger cars, notably the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, which is now planned for launch some four months ahead of the original schedule.
However, there are many who think GM would be wise to rethink its strategy on the next iterations of its 1/2 ton full-size pickups. The new trucks are said to not only employ new, more efficient six and eight-cylinder engines along with hybrid drivetrains, but are also rumored to boast significant weight savings over their current counterparts.
In fact, given that trucks are still a huge profit center for GM and that dealers are increasingly clamoring for new pickup offerings, on many levels, a speedier introduction of the new Silverado and Sierra makes sense.
Having said that, the General is still grappling with limited resources following its bankruptcy and re-structuring, which delayed many introductions, including the original introduction of the upcoming Silverado and Sierra.
Nevertheless, current market conditions could provide GM with the perfect opportunity to hit one out of the park in the pickup segment.
General Motors’ T800 series of full-size pickup trucks and SUVs, with specific reference to 1999-03 models of Chevy Silverado, Avalance, Suburban and Tahoe, as well as their GMC counterparts, Sierra and Yukon, have been subjected to an investigation regarding rusted brake lines.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a filling posted last week, has said it has upgraded its original investigation to an ‘engineering analysis’ covering the affected vehicles, following concerns regarding its preliminary findings.
Said findings included no fewer than 26 separate complaints of brake line corrosion which have resulted in vehicle accidents since the agency first began looking into the problem last year.
GM, in a statement last year, said that even if a brake line rusted through, one of these trucks should still be able to stop safely.
In the course of its investigation, NHTSA initially targeted 6 million vehicles, but later reduced this 1.8 million when it decided that only vehicles being driven in rust belt states (where the roads are salted in winter) are adversely affected.
Said states comprise Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.
Considering NHTSA’s recent spate of recalls, we have to think an official recall notice is coming soon.
[Source: New York Times]
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently implemented a revised test procedure for it’s 5-star New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) vehicle safety rating system and now, has issued results conducted with four 2011 model year pickup trucks – the Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tacoma.
NHTSA’s new NCAP test results are calculated using the probabilities of injury in determining frontal, side and rollover ratings, but now incorporate different sized dummies for more ‘accurate’ measuring and a new side impact ‘pole test’ as part of the program. The results of the crash tests are awarded ‘stars’ based on the ‘level’ of injury risk related to a defined average from those individual front, side and roll-over tests – five stars being the best above average, one star being the worst.
And based on those ratings, among the four trucks tested, the Silverado/Sierra scored the highest overall rating – earning an average ‘four-stars’ for occupant safety – including a 5-star award for driver frontal crash protection on extended cab models and five-stars for side impact testing – including the new pole test that simulates the impact of hitting a pole or tree at 20 mph, just behind the A-pillar. Rollover ratings were 4-stars on both trucks.
The Toyota Tacoma also received an overall ’4-star’ rating but didn’t fare as well as GM twins in frontal and side impact testing.
The 2011 Ram 4×4 garnered a 3-star safety rating largely due to average ratings in frontal driver and passenger protection and just a one-star rating in the new pole test, though interestingly, two-wheel drive Rams tested were awarded an overall NCAP rating of 4-stars.
NHTSA is the first to indicate that because of the changes in the new tests, like adding different sized dummies and the pole test, direct comparison between the 2011 and 2010 NCAP tests can’t be drawn, though it will be interesting to see how some of other pickups on the market will fare in the tests, particularly the current F-150 and the compact Ranger.
Americans still love their trucks. At least it appears that way when General Motors posted September sales figures for all core brands. Overall retail demand for GM vehicles rose by 39 percent and according to GM Vice President of US sales operations, Don Johnson “big pickups contributed significantly to overall sales improvements.”
Focusing on full-size trucks only, Chevrolet Silverado saw a 66 percent increase in demand for September compared with the previous year – selling 32,185 units, while corporate cousin GMC Sierra witnessed a 53 percent sales increase during the same period.
However, part of the increase in pickup sales, also reflects demand for GM’s substantially revised 2011 Heavy Duty pickups, which are proving particularly popular. As a result, GM’s assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, which builds the Silverado and Sierra is currently running at maximum overtime on two shifts. This has also enabled the plant to reach an important milestone, when the 13th million vehicle to be built there since 1947 – a GMC Sierra HD Denali, rolled off the line on September 30th.
Dana Rouse, shop chairman of UAW Local 598 that represents workers at Flint, said that the ‘overtime is needed to fill the pipeline of hot selling heavy-duty trucks.”
Because of demand, there’s also talk of possibly adding a third shift to production at Flint, though as of yet ,neither GM or the UAW has confirmed whether it will actually happen.
[Source: Automotive News]