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Giving Detroit a chance, for a change

When Sherry Lewis walks through the employee parking lots at UCLA in Los Angeles where she works, she can count the number of domestic vehicles she sees on one hand.

The associate director of UCLA Transportation Services Fleet and Transit manages a fleet of 1,052 vehicles and is in the market for heavy duty trucks. She was in Detroit this week to test-drive and kick the tires of the Chevy 3500 Silverado and GMC 3500 Sierra pickups General Motors had on display for its fleet customers.

The school uses trucks as service vehicles and for hauling construction supplies and equipment.

Lewis says she was impressed that GM is making its 2011 heavy duty pickups more attractive by improving pay loads and boosting horsepower and torque. She says she likes that the company has pared down to four brands.

Above all, she believes GM is finally trying to build vehicles that people want to buy.

Lewis she says when sees the sea of Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans and BMWs in the school's parking lots, she can't help but wonder: “Why didn't the Detroit 3 figure this out a little sooner?”

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