CHICAGO -- General Motors Co. will add technology to its next generation of full-sized pickups, including adaptive cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity.
In addition, GM may offer a flexible electronics system that is compatible with a wide range of aftermarket devices beyond MP3 players and mobile phones.
Technology in the electronics industry "moves so fast," said Rick Spina, GM's global vehicle line executive for full-sized trucks. The pickups "will be more flexible" for adapting to aftermarket features.
But GM will stick with its basic formula for the next-generation, restyled and re-engineered Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, due in 2012.
The size of the trucks will be the same as today's pickups, Spina said, but GM will reduce the mass of the vehicles and improve aerodynamics. Durability and payload capacity "won't dramatically change the formula," he said. "The trick is to deliver those traditional things plus increase fuel economy," Spina said during an interview this month at the Chicago Auto Show.
To improve fuel economy, Spina said, GM may eliminate a portion of the truck's overhang to reduce mass. "But really, a lot will come down to smoothing out things like mirrors and moldings along the windshield," he said. "Every one or two ticks of drag add up to a fuel economy number."
He described a "tick" as 0.001 coefficient of drag.
Last year, GM sold 428,386 Silverados and Sierras, down 32 percent from 2008.