Chevrolet and GMC have begun a top-to-bottom overhaul of their truck lineups, which include some of the highest-volume, most profitable vehicles that GM sells.
The truck onslaught follows a three-year period during which Chevy's car lineup has been overhauled with well-received entries such as the Sonic subcompact and Cruze diesel. But more cars are on the way, too: The Corvette Stingray, Chevy SS performance sedan and a re-engineered Malibu are slated for launches in the second half of the year.
Several models of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 will arrive at dealerships later this summer and fall, joining the 5.3-liter V-8 crew cabs that began shipping in late May. After that, the redesigned heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 will land in early 2014. Those will be followed by the next-generation Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs, in spring of 2014, and the redesigned Colorado and Canyon mid-sized pickups by late next year.
Here are highlights for Chevrolet and GMC's 2014-16 models.
Spark: An electric version of the minicar went on sale last month in California and Oregon for the 2014 model year. The two states, with their tough emissions standards, tax credits for electric cars and green-minded cities, are often the first to get new electric vehicles.
Sonic: The subcompact debuted as the redesigned Aveo replacement in fall 2011. It would be due for a freshening or a re-engineering for the 2015 model year.
Cruze: A redesign had been expected in late 2014 or early 2015, but Reuters reported last week that the launch has been pushed back one year. GM's best-selling car globally will be among the first vehicles launched on the newest version of its global compact vehicle platform, named Delta. A late 2014 launch would have been a speedy redesign for the Cruze - about four and a half years - since the U.S. model's debut.
The 1.8-liter base engine likely will be replaced by a new 1.5-liter. Following the launch of the redesign, the addition of a Cruze hatchback or a coupe is a possibility.
Volt: No major changes are expected to the plug-in hybrid before a redesign arrives in late 2015 as a 2016 model. GM aims to shave several thousand dollars in cost from the next-generation Volt, which currently stickers for nearly $40,000. GM probably will downsize the 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine to improve its efficiency in range-extension mode. Possibilities include a 1.0-liter or 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine.
Media reports have suggested that the next-gen Volt will get a dedicated lightweight platform. Cost constraints make that unlikely; expect it to remain on the same platform as the Cruze and Buick Verano, the enhanced Delta architecture. But the platform likely will be modified to maximize weight savings and wring out more electric range.
Malibu: A rapid re-engineering of the mid-sized sedan, which was redesigned barely a year ago, will hit showrooms this fall. The 2014 Malibu gets an improved 2.5-liter engine with a stop-start system, a new front end with a bolder grille, a roomier rear seat and revised center console.
Within a year or two, GM might add a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine to the Malibu's engine lineup to boost its competitiveness on fuel economy.
Impala: The large sedan was redesigned for the 2014 model year as a head-turner aimed at boosting retail sales. The fleet-only version of the outgoing Impala, dubbed "Impala Limited," will be produced at least through the 2014 model year.
Chevrolet SS: The Australia-built rear-wheel-drive performance sedan will hit showrooms late this year as a 2014 model, with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that produces 415 hp.
The car is built on GM's rwd Zeta platform, an underpinning on which the Chevy Camaro also rides. Production of a next-generation SS likely will shift to the United States in 2015 or 2016 with a move to GM's new Alpha platform, which underpins the Cadillac ATS and will host the next-gen Camaro.
Corvette: The 2014 Corvette Stingray should start arriving in showrooms in September. The convertible should go on sale by year end.