CHICAGO -- General Motors Co. is developing a next-generation Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade. They and other full-sized SUVs will be on the road in about three years.
Just last summer, the future of those vehicles -- GM's big moneymakers when gasoline prices were low -- was in doubt. The automaker put development of those vehicles on hold as it dealt with Chapter 11 bankruptcy issues, the recession and potential buyers worried by unstable gasoline prices.
The models will continue to be on GM's rear-wheel-drive, full-sized truck platform rather than the Lambda large crossover platform, which GM reportedly had considered.
"The SUVs are aimed at people who need more than two rows, and they need capability," said Rick Spina, GM's global vehicle line executive for full-sized trucks. "They are very fond of their SUVs, and we will continue to serve them."
Sales of GM's full-sized SUVs have tumbled. The automaker sold 184,000 full-sized SUVs in the United States last year, down 25 percent from 2008. But a few years earlier, sales were much higher: In 2006, GM sold 410,778 full-sized SUVs.
"Sales are picking up, plus there aren't too many players in the game," said Spina, who was interviewed last week at the Chicago Auto Show.
GM exported 40,000 large SUVs last year, giving it another reason to develop the next generation.
"That is big export dollars and pretty good business," Spina said.
He said each GM brand that has a full-sized SUV -- Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC -- will get next-generation vehicles.