Why GM scuttled plans for lightweight big pickups
DETROIT -- General Motors seriously considered -- but ultimately rejected -- a plan to develop lightweight versions of the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra that are scheduled to arrive next year.
Engineers were searching for ways to boost the fuel economy of the full-sized pickups. But Mark Reuss, GM's president for North America, said the plan was scuttled after an analysis determined it would be too costly.
He also said the pickups would have failed to reach GM's fuel economy target and would have been less capable than the existing Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Instead, GM decided to replace the current compact Colorado with a mid-sized pickup, which will keep the Colorado name, that will debut in 2013.
Speaking of the plan for lighter full-sized pickups, Reuss said GM "studied this extensively." He said the key was going to be using lighter materials.
But Reuss said: "if you look at profit on this, if you look at what it takes to actually do this, what it does to the cost of materials, and what it does to the real fuel economy of that vehicle," the effort fell way short of GM's targets. He did not elaborate.
He said the end result would be a less capable pickup -- a problem, since "there are people who use that to make a living."
Reuss said: The mid-sized Colorado will provide "90 percent of the size and 120 percent of the efficiency because of the powertrains."