GM to launch Chevrolet and GMC midsize pickups, too

By Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press

General Motors is planning to launch two midsize pickup trucks as early as late next year under its Chevrolet and GMC brands.

The new Chevrolet midsize pickup will be aimed at the "lifestyle," pickup truck buyer while the GMC midsize pickup will be aimed at fleet buyers and small business owners, Mark Reuss, president of GM North America told the Free Press last week.

Reuss said the launch of the two GM midsize trucks will be timed to coincide with Ford's launch of its redesigned full-size F-150. Ford is widely expected to launch its new F-150 by the end of 2014 or in early 2015.

"We are going to have a midsize truck that we launch right down the alley," Reuss said. "When they bring out their F-150, we are going to have something no-one else has."

Reuss said GM's midsize pickups will be larger than a Toyota Tacoma, which is classified as a compact pickup.

GM phased out its compact Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups last year. It has introduced a new Colorado for world markets and had said a version would come to the U.S..at some point as a Chevy. It had not said anything about a GMC model. Ford made its last Ford Ranger for North America in 2011 and has said it does not have a plan to bring the new-generation Ranger on sale in world markets..

Chrysler ended production of the Dodge Ram Dakota in August, 2011, but continues to study the business case for a so-called lifestyle pickup, Fred Diaz, CEO of the Ram brand said in February. However, the timing of a new Dakota has been pushed back until approximately 2016.

Compact pickups are a small segment in North America. They accounted for only 264,197 sales in the U.S. last year compared with 1.94 million full-size pickups.

"This is going to be a new truck — a new size of truck with a new set of powertrains in those trucks," Reuss said. "It will be a little bigger than a Tacoma."

Reuss said the decision to develop two midsize pickups is partly driven by the desire of some pickup buyers to be able to haul goods with better fuel economy than can be achieved by the company's larger, full-size pickups.

"I don't think you can cost effectively get close…from a light-weighting standpoint," to the needs of those customers, Reuss said. "There is a buyer out there that doesn't need everything that a full size truck does."

His comments, made last week during the New York Auto Show, were in advance of the company's announcement today about for the fuel economy of its redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

Those pickups are classified as full-size pickups.

Reuss said the two midsize trucks will be aimed at two distinct types of buyers.

"We are going to at with Chevrolet on a lifestyle basis that will be quite different than a Silverado and we are going to go at it with GMC with professional grade capability in a little bit smaller truck with all of the fuel efficiency and fuel economy," Reuss said.


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