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GM tests closing grille to boost truck mpg

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GM tests closing grille to boost truck mpg

Automotive News -- February 15, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

One day pickup owners may ask: "Are those venetian blinds behind my grille?"

Within the next several weeks, General Motors Co. will begin testing to determine whether closing the openings in the grille will have a significant impact on truck fuel economy.

"You have to look at more expensive solutions more aggressively unless you are going to give up payload. And we decided we don't want to do that," said Rick Spina, GM's global vehicle line executive for full-sized trucks.

He estimated the cost to GM at $60 to $100 per vehicle.

Movable slats would block the grille openings to improve aerodynamics. Temperature, humidity, vehicle speed and other sensors will determine when the electric motor should automatically open or close the slats.

Wind tunnel testing is planned over several weeks.

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