DETROIT - Cadillac's forthcoming sport-utility pickup will have a door from the cab to the cargo box, a higher-output 6.0-liter V-8 engine and radical styling along the lines of the Evoq roadster.
According to company sources, production of the Cadillac pickup - which is code-named GMT806 - will begin in May 2001.
That's just six months after the expected arrival of the Lincoln Blackwood, Ford Motor Co.'s pickup version of the Lincoln Navigator.
The pickup is part of Cadillac's luxury-truck offensive that is intended to help the division compete with its rivals' cross-over products. Cadillac also plans to introduce a sport-utility dubbed LAV, which is based on its new Sigma rear-drive car platform.
The Cadillac is being developed jointly with the Chevrolet Warrior, code-named GMT805. Both the Cadillac and Chevrolet are four-door variants of GM's full-sized pickup and will share their basic architecture and some features, sources say.
A DOOR TO CARGO BOX
But the Cadillac will have distinct styling and a larger engine, according to sources at Cadillac and the General Motors Truck Group.
The vehicle will feature an upgraded version of GM's Gen III 6.0-liter pushrod V-8. The engine will have aluminum cylinder heads and will produce 300 to 350 hp.
GM has made flexibility a priority in the design of GMT806, sources say. For example, the rear wall of the cab will open, allowing access to the pickup box.
Though the box will be smaller than that of typical full-sized pickups, the door to the cargo box, when opened, will expand its capacity to that of a full-sized pickup with a six-foot box.
Engineers are still working on the door's design. Structural considerations and water sealing problems have made it a challenge, says one source.
Cadillac plans to offer a full range of accessories to be sold through dealers. Among other things, the accessories will enable owners to enclose the box and reconfigure it for seating, sources say.
STYLED FOR CADILLAC
The Cadillac will be built at GM's truck plant in Arlington, Texas, sources say. Production will start four months after the redesigned Cadillac Escalade, which goes into production in January 2001.
Unlike the current Escalade, which is almost identical to the GMC Denali, the next Escalade and the GMT806 will share a front clip and tailgate sheet metal that is distinct from other GM trucks.
A Cadillac source who has seen both vehicles says the Cadillacs have hard, straight-edged lines up front resembling those of the Cadillac Evoq.
Inside, the Escalade and GMT806 will share an instrument panel unique to those two vehicles. The center console will feature an onboard PC that is controlled by a button array on the steering wheel.
GMC - which once aspired to be GM's luxury truck division -will not receive a version of the hybrid pickup.