Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

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Thread: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

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    Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Link: http://www.autonews.com/article/2011...110329960/1503

    RICK KRANZ - Automotive News product editor.

    Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?


    The Chevrolet Colorado pickup concept unveiled this week reminds me of a conversation I had this year with a General Motors executive. But there was one surprise with the unveiling.

    The mid-sized, all-wheel-drive Colorado was shown before the opening of the Bangkok International Auto Show this week.


    GM has not said whether the pickup will be sold in North America, but don’t be surprised if it shows up at a Chevy dealership in two years or so.

    During an interview this year at the Detroit auto show, Jamie Hresko, then vice president of GM global powertrain engineering, strongly suggested the automaker was exploring a new mid-sized pickup.

    To meet proposed higher U.S. fuel economy and lower emissions standards, automakers that sell in the United States eventually will need to develop a leaner range of pickups, Hresko said.

    At some point, especially with the likelihood of higher gasoline prices down the road, a smaller, lighter-weight pickup is inevitable.

    Hresko stopped short of saying GM was developing such a truck, but the Colorado concept fits his description.

    As you look around the industry, Hresko said, “what you have seen is a massive shift to smaller, more efficient [vehicles], so I think it applies to every segment,” including pickups.

    An increase in energy costs is “inevitable with the expansions in China and other regions. Logic would say prices will go up” and some pickup buyers will be looking for a more fuel efficient alternative, he said.

    “My point is the general population will eventually walk there. I do believe that. I am not sure what the marketers think. To me it is logical,” Hresko said.

    There’s one thing that Hresko didn’t say: that GM’s mid-sized pickup would be developed on a front-wheel-drive platform.

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?







    Been there. Done that.

    With $4.00 gas, why not again?

    .

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post




    Been there. Done that.

    With $4.00 gas, why not again?

    .
    Because these went extinct for a reason: nobody bought them. The Honda Ridgeline is dying for the same reason. FWD makes a truck useless.

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Because these went extinct for a reason: nobody bought them. The Honda Ridgeline is dying for the same reason. FWD makes a truck useless.
    The Ridgeline is EPA rated at 15 miles per gallon.

    Of the estimated 13 million vehicles to be sold this year, there has to be 100 or even 200 thousand buyers who would go for a 25 mile per gallon light duty 'pickup type' vehicle.

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Why does GM want to build a Ridgeline? That doesn't make any sense.

    I know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, but what is it if GM does something that Honda has done?
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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    FWD doesn't make a truck useless, unless the truck is larger than a compact, as shown by the Ridgeline. The Chevy Montana is extremely sucessful in Mexico and South America. So why not bring it here.
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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Quote Originally Posted by skylark68 View Post
    Why does GM want to build a Ridgeline? That doesn't make any sense.

    I know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, but what is it if GM does something that Honda has done?
    It's not that crazy of an idea. Remember the Dodge Rampage concept from a few years ago, that was a Ridgeline type pickup with a Hemi and word is that some form of that concept might come out to replace the Dakota.
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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    IMO the Ridgeline is dying because its ugly, way too thirsty, and way too expensive for its capabilities.

    I'd prefer traditionally constructed BOF truck with a two speed transfer case, but I wouldn't rule out a transverse FWD based AWD unibody truck if the combination of capability, efficiency, and price offered a clear advantage over the competition.
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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    I couldn't care less how it's built as long as my requirements are met. It just seems that the most recent car-based trucks required some pretty costly options to make them competitive. The Ridgeline had to be AWD only because of weight concerns with a full load- and the unit-body frame had to be modified to handle a trailer, which increased weight and eliminated one the main advantages of that design.

    After it was all said and done, the Ridgeline was a pretty good truck with some impressive selling points...but it offered no real advantage in ride, purchase price, cost to own, fuel economy or performance over the Silverado or Tundra. It's capabilities were more in line with the Colorado or Tacoma than with the other $35K trucks.

    If GM were to explore this option, I am guessing it would be either a rear drive El-Camino type of vehicle (which would probably be pretty popular if it could be had with a back seat), or with a Traverse or Equinox based four door truck. Seems like the latter would face the same design and costs hurdles that proved to be a disadvantage of the Ridgeline, wouldn't it?

    Has technology improved so much in the past 5 or 6 years that GM might have a shot at making a better Ridgeline?

    The other alternative would be mini pickup truck with a front wheel drive chassis. It would have limited capacities and appeal (judging from the limitations and popularity of small 4 cylinder work trucks lately) I think the better way to pursue this market is similar to Ford's strategy with a small van, like the Transit Connect.

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    I was afraid of this! After the talk of a basic,small pickup by GM months ago I feared such a move! That a FWD pickup would automaticly be more efficient then a RWD one is silly! That a unit body would be more efficient then a full framed one is also silly also! Properly done a light weight hydro formed frame rail could be used with small DI Turbo power and a mid range axle ratio standard using the 6 speed hybrid automatic trans! That would keep the truck a ((TRUCK)) offering larger power features as options for light duty towing!

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post






    Been there. Done that.

    With $4.00 gas, why not again?

    .
    It would follow GM's new strategy for Caddy Europe: try, try, and try again!
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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    I don't know how fwd would effect me as someone who would use it more or less for the bed and not for any sort of towing capability.

    That Chevy Montana actually looks like what I would need. If it could fit sheet rock and floor board in the back I would buy it.
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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevroletGuy View Post
    FWD doesn't make a truck useless, unless the truck is larger than a compact, as shown by the Ridgeline. The Chevy Montana is extremely sucessful in Mexico and South America. So why not bring it here.
    My thoughts exactly.

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel by making a FWD pickup, just resurrect this:



    Give it:
    - 2 and 4WD
    - 2.4L Ecotec 4 gas, 4 cyl. diesel
    - auto or manual

    Done.

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    Re: Commentary: Is a front-wheel-drive-based pickup in Chevy’s future?

    I live at the edge of my town. I don't have a farm, or a ranch, I do not have a cabin somewhere in the wilderness, nor do I have an identity problem. Therefore, I do not need a full size, four wheel drive, jacked-up with over sized tires, pickup truck. What I could use is a small utility type pickup that would haul my snowblower or lawnmower to the repair shop, a load of wood for my fireplace, or some load of junk to the landfill without having to put them in the interior space with me (like in a van or CUV). The difference between todays "small" pickups from our domestic auto makers compared to their large offerings, is so slight that it makes no sense in getting the smaller trucks. There is only a slight difference in MPG and cost between the two; not enough to warrent a purchase of the smaller truck. Therefore they don't sell.
    So, a small, front wheel drive (and/or a 4 wheel drive) utility type pickup truck that offers much improved gas mileage and sells for substantially less than the large pickups, would in my opinion, be a success here. Especially if its gas mileage and performance was equal to or at least very close to those smaller CUVs of similar size.
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