Exclusive: GM moves next version of big pickups ahead by nine months - sources

Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:58pm EDT
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By Paul Lienert and Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co has pushed forward the launch of its next-generation full-size pickups by about nine months to fall 2018, hoping to narrow rival Ford Motor Co's still-sizable lead in meeting future U.S. fuel-economy standards, supplier sources said on Monday.

Redesigned versions of GM's full-size sport-utility vehicles are expected to follow about a year later, the two sources said.

GM officials declined to comment on future product plans.

Like Ford with its all-new 2015 F-150, GM is dramatically lightening the next versions of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, which are being developed under a program known to suppliers as T1XX, or T1 for short.

The first versions of the current redesigned pickups debuted last year, and GM is introducing SUVs based on that platform this year.

Despite the accelerated schedule, the new GM trucks still will not reach U.S. dealers until about four years after the F-150, whose design keeps the pickup's weight down through intensive use of aluminum. U.S. and Canadian dealers on Monday began ordering the Ford truck, which is expected to hit showrooms this fall.

Given the weight reductions GM has already made, it may not lag its rival by much. The curb weight on a base 2015 Silverado is 4,392 pounds (1,992 kg), compared with the sub-4,500-pound (2,040-kg) total for a comparable 2015 F-150.

Ford is not worried. The No. 2 U.S. automaker plans to hold onto its sales crown in the segment by continuing to refine its truck's efficiency.   Continued...

The Chevrolet logo is pictured on the front of a Chevrolet Camaro for sale at a car dealership in Los Angeles, California April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni