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    GM Considering Off-Road Versions Of Their Full-Size SUVs

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    September 23, 2013

    General Motors is considering whether or not to do off-road-focused versions of their next-generation full-size SUVs.

    "We are looking at, for this generation, a more off-road variant," said Jeff Luke, GM's executive chief engineer for trucks.

    Luke explains that off-road capability is a major reason why buyers go to full-size SUVs and not crossovers.

    Owners "just love off-roading with these vehicles. They look at this vehicle as more off-road capable" than crossovers, said Luke.

    GM sold a Z71 off-road package for their current-generation of full-size SUVs. The package added stronger shocks, larger wheels, and special styling cues such as bigger wheel flares and badging. The Z71 package was never a big seller though.

    Luke also said that GM would introduce more enhancements after the SUVs go on sale in March. When asked if an eight-speed automatic would be making its way into the SUVs, Luke said "Stay Tuned".

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Sounds like they want a return of Hummer. There is a narrow market for these off road or modified big trucks, so I am sure there is profit potential in there because you can jack up the price by $10,000 on a Tahoe but I get the feeling that GM is going to be really dependent on big SUVs, much like they were in 2005-2008 and that plan failed. How about focus on making a Malibu that people buy.

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    one equipped with a diesel maybe?

    Every GM pickup and SUV and probably half their sedans should have a diesel option within 3 years. Not sure what is taking so long, but once the German diesels spread, they will become the new hot item like AWD has become. 20 years ago no one cared about AWD luxury cars, then Audi did Quattro, Mercedes did 4Matic and all of a sudden every Infiniti, Cadillac and Lexus had AWD on it.

    Diesel will be the same, when the A6 TDI gets 38 mpg and 0-60 in under 6 seconds, a E250 Bluetec gets 45 mpg and an A4 TDI and C250 bluetec follow, it will start to catch on. Someone will make a 30 mpg full size SUV, Audi and Mercedes are close now, GM should get the diesels ready to be ahead of the curve rather than behind.

    There's more money in selling blinged up "off-road" Tahoes that spend all their time in the mall parking lot.

    Sadly, I totally agree. The SUV buying public will pay it because they are stupid.

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    I agree that a mid-size, off-road capable SUV makes more sense first. Consider that RAM has no SUV - the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are not RAM-branded but are mid-size offerings and at least the Jeep GC has off-road capability - Ford has moved away from this market too, not sure how off-road capable the Expedition is and the Explorer features some off-road tech (though I doubt many go off-road much). If Toyota keeps the 4Runner formula the same and does not change like Nissan did with the Pathfinder (CUV instead of SUV), it's a small market.

    I think that there are plenty of GMT-360 (Envoy/TrailBlazer) and H3 owners that want to get a new off-road capable mid-size SUV that won't consider the mid-size CUV options that already exist in the marketplace. I don't know how many full-size buyers there are (Hummer H2 owners may or may not want a replacement vehicle), but options are always good.

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    Also, from what I know true off-roaders don't like large vehicles - SUVs or pickups - for off-roading (they tend to go with smaller vehicles to handle narrow trails). But I'm sure the outdoorsman who wants to camping/fishing/hunting will want the comfort of a larger vehicle. GM should continue to offer the Z71 Off-Road package/trim since it is not a heavily modified vehicle program (like the Ford Raptor or RAM Power Wagon) that makes the regular 4WD SUV more capable off-road.

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