DETROIT -- General Motors' first redesigned full-sized pickups in seven years have come dangerously close to being labeled flops since their launch last summer.
The trucks haven't provided the typical market-share pop in the bread-and-butter pickup segment. Dealers have griped that the pricing is all wrong -- too steep to fend off aggressive deals from Ford and Ram. Critics derided the conservative styling and lack of innovations such as an aluminum frame or diesel engine.
But the gobs of profits that GM piled up from higher transaction prices on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra saved GM's recall-plagued first quarter -- and have forced a reassessment of GM's strategy for its new generation of pickups.
"GM may have made the right call to go for price over share," Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson said in an April 24 research note. Two months earlier, Johnson had declared GM's rollout "arguably the least successful large pickup launch over the last 15 years."
The $5,400 spike in transaction prices that GM commanded for the Silverado and Sierra in the first quarter from a year earlier indicates that GM's pickup launch, while far from flawless, is unfolding along the lines that GM had sketched out years ago.