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GM Trucks Are Set to Get Much Lighter

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Chevrolet Silverado

GM Trucks Are Set to Get Much Lighter

Jason Lancaster
August 28, 2013

Chevrolet Silverado

In an effort to keep up in an extremely competitive market, GM is said to be focusing on reducing the weight of their passenger pickups in an effort to improve fuel economy. With upcoming government fuel regulations going into place soon, GM will need to improve the gas mileage of nearly every model in their fleet to meet the new requirements. What’s in store for the Chevy truck?

Chevrolet is Fighting to Keep Up

Truck sales have boomed this year, seeing its highest point in July since before the recession. The housing industry is on the rebound and people are starting construction projects once again, which has led to a higher demand for heavy duty work vehicles. People are also seeing more personal financial success which is allowing them to budget for a new vehicle purchase -- banks are more freely issuing auto loans to consumers as well. What this is all creating is a highly competitive auto industry with buyers demanding high quality and the best features from the next vehicle.

A hugely important characteristic of new vehicles is the fuel economy -- people are starting to accept that gas prices are probably never again going to be “affordable”, so the vehicles they drive need to get them further with the same amount of gas. New government regulations are going into effect soon that will set a very high standard for gas mileage across every automaker's fleet.

Ford is launching an all-aluminum F-150 in 2014 and GM is worried that it might not be able to compete in weight savings and powertrain upgrades to beat out the Ford truck MPGs.

It is now being speculated that GM is once again looking to step up their game and implement a few new innovations on their K2XX platform passenger pickups, gradually.

What Are the Plans for GM Trucks?

A supplier for GM has hinted that the automaker has an aluminum-intensive Silverado design in mind that could be around 250 lbs lighter than current versions.

This weight savings would mean about a 3% improvement in fuel economy -- that translates into more than 29 MPGs on the highway from the 4.3L engine, which is currently rated at 24 highway MPGs.

While GM has yet to make an official statement about their plans, their spokesman, Tom Wilkinson, did say they were looking into every aspect of their design to improve fuel economy as they move towards the next generation of trucks.

In addition to the rumors about a more aluminum frame and body, GM may also use composite materials in construction of the new truck. It’s also expected that GM will put an 8-speed transmission into their trucks.

The 2014 models have already undergone some pretty impressive weight savings from the prior platform. The K2XX trucks are already between 250 to 400 pounds slimmer than the GMT900 platform.

Author Jason Lancaster follows GM news carefully and looks forward to lighter Chevy trucks and better fuel economy. He works with GMPartsOnline.net, who sells OEM GM parts at discounted prices online.

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