GM to unveil new pickup even as it boosts deals on current model

Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:37pm EST
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By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) is gearing up to show off its new full-size pickup trucks this week just as the No. 1 U.S. automaker is boosting incentives on its rising supply of the current models.

GM will unveil the redesigned versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in Pontiac on Thursday, but consumers will not be able to start buying the new 2014 models until the second quarter next year.

Until then, they will have to be satisfied with getting a peek at GM's plans, while also having the option to buy the current version.

"It's a huge cash-flow machine and it's the first introduction of this product post bankruptcy and that means something just for the psychology for General Motors," said Guggenheim Securities analyst Matthew Stover, who has a "neutral" rating on GM shares.

The rollout of the new trucks and related SUVs, which analysts say generate profits of $12,000 or more, are critical for GM, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and received a $50 billion U.S. taxpayer-funded bailout.

While new small cars like the Chevy Cruze have garnered positive reviews, the big pickups and SUVs - Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade - remain top draws at dealerships. Their combined U.S. sales rose 11 percent last year to more than 799,000 vehicles.

And even though they are the oldest truck models on the market, GM pickups still ranked No. 2 in all U.S. vehicle sales last year, behind only Ford Motor Co's (F.N: Quote) F-150 truck.

Analysts said trucks and SUVs account for about 60 percent of GM's North American profit, and Citi estimates the new models could bring GM more than $1 billion in additional operating earnings in 2013 and 2014.   Continued...

The General Motors logo is seen outside its headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan in this file photograph taken August 25, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Kowalsky/Files