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AutoBlog: REPORT: GM kills plans for unibody pickup truck

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Filed under: Truck, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

denali-xt-reveal-630.jpg
GMC Denali XT concept - click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors has reportedly cancel plans for a new unibody mid-sized pickup truck after finding it wouldn't get much better fuel economy than existing body-on-frame designs. In early 2008, GM showed off the GMC Denali XT concept at the Chicago Auto Show. That truck was actually based on the same Zeta rear wheel drive platform used for the Pontiac G8. And unlike the star-crossed G8 ST that never made it into showrooms, the intended production truck would have been derived front-wheel drive/all-wheel drive Epsilon II architecture like Honda's Ridgeline.

GM vice-chairman Tom Stephens told Automotive News the unibody design would not give much of an efficiency boost while losing capability that buyers were willing to pay a premium for. That means the trucks would have been less profitable, something GM is obviously trying to avoid. The current four-wheel drive Chevrolet Silverado pickup has an EPA rating of 14/20 mpg while the all-wheel drive Ridgeline only gets 15/20 mpg, so there's clearly something to this.

As a mid-sized truck, the unibody would have likely replaced the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, two vehicles that are getting long-in-the-tooth. It's not clear how GM plans to handle those products (or that segment) going forward.



[source: Automotive News - sub req'd]

REPORT: GM kills plans for unibody pickup truck originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Sep 2009 09:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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That's always been the problem with small trucks/suvs - there's a big tradeoff of usefulness with very little tradeoff of economy. If a midsize truck had a 5+ mpg bump while still remaining useful for most truck activities, it'd be great, but it's usually just a couple mpg.

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All the MFG's are in a quandry.

They all want more MPG but they all want to retain the old buyers with a new product.

The concept of a Unibody sounds great for MPG but for the traditional buyer he feels it is less of a truck.

Unless there are greater gains found the Unibody truck may be off till they can find a way to make it so it still will do the work of todays truck with more MPG.

I still think there may be some drivetrain work with a smaller more efficent and as powerful engines.

They really do not want to go with a V6 even if it is Turbo charged in a truck. I think with the DI and other ways to make engines more efficent they will find a way to make smaller engines work in trucks.

More aero work also may be in the works.

The Truck market is a really big gray area in the future and it will be interesting what direction it will take. The MFG's all have gone through several ideas just in the last year.

For sure it will be interesting what direct is used and who will get the lead first.

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They all want more MPG but they all want to retain the old buyers with a new product.

The concept of a Unibody sounds great for MPG but for the traditional buyer he feels it is less of a truck.

Unfortunately, the MFGs need to offer both, but somehow based on other products. To me, I'd rather see GM make the Colorado/Canyon replacement based on something closer to the bigger trucks. With MPG being stressed lately, I foresee the big trucks getting smaller... at that point, the Colorado/Canyon could be a smaller, lighter version of a Silverado, using many of the same parts, if possible.

To attract people who would buy a Ridgeline... ugh, I did not know it was essentially FWD... GM could have made a small pickup based on the HHR... In fact, I think the HHR would have looked alot cooler as a pickup.

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To attract people who would buy a Ridgeline... ugh, I did not know it was essentially FWD... GM could have made a small pickup based on the HHR... In fact, I think the HHR would have looked alot cooler as a pickup.

See, that could make a lot of sense. The only issue is that since the HHR is spaceframe design, they have to be very careful to make it rigid enough to not fold in half when someone loads one up more than they should, which is inevitable. Still, seems doable, and it would look great, and should result in reasonable fuel economy.

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The full size trucks could probably stand a bit of a downsizing and some work on the aerodynamics..those blunt, tall, noses can't be good for aero. I'm curious how today's Silverado compares to an '88 in dimensions...are they much larger? It seems that is the case with Dodges and Fords, i.e. today's are definitely a larger size in all dimensions than those from say, 20 years ago.

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The full size trucks could probably stand a bit of a downsizing and some work on the aerodynamics..those blunt, tall, noses can't be good for aero. I'm curious how today's Silverado compares to an '88 in dimensions...are they much larger? It seems that is the case with Dodges and Fords, i.e. today's are definitely a larger size in all dimensions than those from say, 20 years ago.

Downsize pickups?

No, that is not a viable answer.

If this would have been on EP2, it wasn't worth having to begin with - no loss.

AWD is what killed the fuel economy.

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Downsize pickups?

No, that is not a viable answer.

Why not? Why do they have to be so freaking huge and heavy? Does a full size truck have to be 5000-6000lbs or more? I'm not talking about making a Silverado Colorado-sized, but a bit smaller and lighter than they are now...more 1988 sized.

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Why not? Why do they have to be so freaking huge and heavy? Does a full size truck have to be 5000-6000lbs or more? I'm not talking about making a Silverado Colorado-sized, but a bit smaller and lighter than they are now...more 1988 sized.

Anything that diminishes full-size truck capability is suicide in that market. What needs to happen will happen naturally, the people who don't need a full-size pickup will buy something else.

No need to mess with what is the sole product of the domestics that isn't duplicated by anyone else.

The full-size pickup is completely American in concept, manufacture, use, and appeal - mess with that at your peril.

That said, a good small pickup is sorely needed.

Edited by Camino LS6
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Why not? Why do they have to be so freaking huge and heavy? Does a full size truck have to be 5000-6000lbs or more? I'm not talking about making a Silverado Colorado-sized, but a bit smaller and lighter than they are now...more 1988 sized.

Except for the length, the fullsize trucks from 1992 to 2009 have virtually remained unchanged.

Linkity

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how bout making trucks handle more like cars instead of the dumpy ride and $h!ty steering

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how bout making trucks handle more like cars instead of the dumpy ride and $h!ty steering

A truck is a truck.

That said, I don't consider my Silverado to have a "dumpy ride" nor "$h!ty steering".

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Down sized smaller V6 trucks are just what the MFG's want to do. But it is not what this segment is about.

People want towing even if they don'd use it. They want a big bed even if it is empty 90% of the time and they want a V8 even if a 300 HP v6 would do the job.

Also Honda proved there is a small segment for a FWD AWD pick up but not much of one so that is out. With Ford and Toyota dropping the Unibody smaller truck it should be no suprise GM also has. In this market you can not afford to be wrong or take a chance and fail. These people are pretty set on what they want and it seldom changes.

With that being said I would like to see GM get back to a small truck and dump the mid size. Make a truck like the old S10 that will suit many owners and lower the price from the present Colorado. I think if there was a bigger gap the smaller truck would do better. Lets face it the Ranger never really changed and even out dated still sells!

Also this smaller truck would cover GM's Ass when gas goes up. If they could base it on a platform that could be shared with another vehilcle like the Alpha? Use the suspension, engine and tranny?

Edited by hyperv6
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People want towing even if they don'd use it. They want a big bed even if it is empty 90% of the time and they want a V8 even if a 300 HP v6 would do the job.

I hope you are talking about the non commen consumers who want these vehicles as point to point mode of transportation and who feel like having extra capability when they head to Lowes.

Because the statement is not true for people who use the pickup trucks for commercial, construction, hauling or any other heavy duty. These people NEED those features.

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Anything that diminishes full-size truck capability is suicide in that market. What needs to happen will happen naturally, the people who don't need a full-size pickup will buy something else.

That said, a good small pickup is sorely needed.

Prior to the early 1990's half ton pickups has no more capability than the family station wagon. Greater capabilities were for 3/4 and one ton pickups. Perhaps the half ton full size pickup should be built on a stretched mis sized pick up chassis and leave the serious work for three quarter and up trucks.

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Well, this quells my fears about the Colorado/Canyon replacement. I hope this means the next midsized pickup from GM will be BOF with a separate cab and bed, like God intends a truck to be. If they put direct injection in it and up the transmissions to 6 speeds (in other words, modernize them), they can get more fuel mileage out of those Atlas engines. Edited by ocnblu
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Down sized smaller V6 trucks are just what the MFG's want to do. But it is not what this segment is about.

People want towing even if they don'd use it. They want a big bed even if it is empty 90% of the time and they want a V8 even if a 300 HP v6 would do the job.

Also Honda proved there is a small segment for a FWD AWD pick up but not much of one so that is out. With Ford and Toyota dropping the Unibody smaller truck it should be no suprise GM also has. In this market you can not afford to be wrong or take a chance and fail. These people are pretty set on what they want and it seldom changes.

With that being said I would like to see GM get back to a small truck and dump the mid size. Make a truck like the old S10 that will suit many owners and lower the price from the present Colorado. I think if there was a bigger gap the smaller truck would do better. Lets face it the Ranger never really changed and even out dated still sells!

Also this smaller truck would cover GM's Ass when gas goes up. If they could base it on a platform that could be shared with another vehilcle like the Alpha? Use the suspension, engine and tranny?

Write down this date, I agree withe every word of this post.

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Why don't we just walk though the front door, deal with our energy issues, and keep building fullsize trucks?

Do you really think I'm going to haul stuff in an S-10 Sized/Capacity truck when I need a fullsize?

To me, a fullsize truck should be just that-A fullsize truck.

Chris

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Too bad Ford killed plans for the smaller diesel in the F150. If the EPA were moe open to diesels, we could have diesel trucks that got great fuel economy.

Diesel trucks just make too much sense, IMHO.

Chris

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Too bad Ford killed plans for the smaller diesel in the F150. If the EPA were more open to diesels, we could have diesel trucks that got great fuel economy.

Diesel trucks just make too much sense, IMHO.

Chris

Diesels make sense in everything, IMHO. Torque is good. Didn't Ford kill their F100 midsize truck plans also?

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I hope the "midsize" truck is a thing of the past - it's an "un" segment and a silly product.

We need a small truck and a fullsize truck, no point in a "midsize".

The two should be farther apart in price, performance, and economy. There should also be Atlas sixes in the Silverado line, straight sixes can make excellent torque and power a work truck version of the Silverado effectively while upping fuel economy.

V6s in trucks should be a thing of the past.

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I hope the "midsize" truck is a thing of the past - it's an "un" segment and a silly product.

We need a small truck and a fullsize truck, no point in a "midsize".

The two should be farther apart in price, performance, and economy. There should also be Atlas sixes in the Silverado line, straight sixes can make excellent torque and power a work truck version of the Silverado effectively while upping fuel economy.

+1 on the Atlas. I wonder if that engine is done for, though, with the demise of the GMT360s? I've owned two vehicles w/ straight 6s, they are great...

Rob

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I don't see a problem with canceling the unibody pickup. Looking at the picture it looks more like a car with no trunk lid. Many buyers of this would put on a hard tonneau cover bringing it back to a sedan anyway.

There is a need for a full sized truck other than commercial use. Why shouldn't someone be able to buy a 1500 for transport and an occasional trip to Lowe's or to haul trash and brush from their home. This use would not require the heavy duty of the 2500 or 3500. Most commercial trucks I see are at least the 2500's.

With rebates for the full sized vs. very small rebates if any for smaller Colorado sized trucks the cost is almost the same. When I bought my Silverado 1500 I didn't think I would consider a full sized truck due to the higher costs. But when shopping and the demand for economy smaller trucks they wouldn't budge on the price. I found that I could get much greater comfort and a much better truck for almost the same price due to the rebates. The gas mileage was only listed at about 1 mpg difference.

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With rebates for the full sized vs. very small rebates if any for smaller Colorado sized trucks the cost is almost the same. When I bought my Silverado 1500 I didn't think I would consider a full sized truck due to the higher costs. But when shopping and the demand for economy smaller trucks they wouldn't budge on the price. I found that I could get much greater comfort and a much better truck for almost the same price due to the rebates. The gas mileage was only listed at about 1 mpg difference.

This, is where the problem is and any "midsize" just makes it worse.

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