When isn't an SUV a truck?

Edward Lapham is editor of Automotive News

Dec. 4 -- There's a tussle in the auto industry about what to call the Chevrolet Avalanche and other, similar vehicles such as the Lincoln Blackwood and Cadillac Escalade EXT.

These trucks, which are derived from big sport-utility vehicles, have the interior look and feel of an SUV. But they also have an exterior cargo area that resembles the bed of a pickup truck.

So are they pickups or SUVs? And why does it matter?

It's all about bragging rights. General Motors, which at least at first will produce more of these new-type vehicles than anyone else, calls them pickups.

That's because GM has been struggling to surpass Ford as the pickup truck sales leader. And GM wants to lump these vehicles into the total.

Nice try.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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