Deep inside General Motors Vehicle Engineering Center in Warren is a storage room few people know about.
In that room, a handful of engineers for two years hid the secret weapon GM would have in the current Truck Wars: The MultiPro tailgate on the 2019 GMC Sierra SLT and Denali pickups.
"We had a 3D printed version of the tailgate that we kept covered with a lock on the door. We'd put it on a gurney and wheel it in the conference room to work on it, then wheel it back to the storage room," said Derek Patterson, GM's lead integration engineer on the MultiPro tailgate. "We did this all in secret. I kept a list of those who knew about it. No one ever showed anything over Skype."
The tailgate was so guarded because it is revolutionary. Many auto experts say the MultiPro gives GM an edge in one of the U.S.'s most competitive and profitable vehicle segments. To prove it, just look at GM's aggressive advertising of the tailgate.
The story behind this arguably ingenious invention started a decade ago when a GM manager asked a high-school-educated technician, Jim Gobart, to fix a problem.
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