Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

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Thread: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

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    Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    Those anticipating revolution need to look back at history.
    www.GMInsideNews.com
    December 17, 2012
    By: Nick Saporito


    Late last week General Motors took the wraps off of their 2014 full-size trucks. While not every detail was divulged during the reveal, the overall picture of the competitiveness of the company’s profit centers is coming into focus. For those diehards expecting something revolutionary from GM’s new trucks, you may want to level your expectations, because evolution was clearly the recipe here.

    The fact that these trucks are largely evolutionary isn’t much of a surprise. Evolution has been the formula utilized by General Motors and others for decades when it comes to the all-important truck segment. From the GMT-400’s to the GMT-800’s and from the GMT-800’s to today’s GMT-900’s, every generation of GM truck has been a stepping stone forward – not a leap. One could argue that GM’s mentality for truck changes seems to be along the lines of, “slow and steady wins the race.”

    GM’s argument for this incremental approach is one that deserves consideration. The company alleges that truck buyers aren’t looking for dramatic changes, but rather meaningful improvements across the board. Instead of whiz-bang features like push-button start, the truck buyer wants better fuel economy and bigger buttons on the dash.

    So that’s exactly what GM did with these trucks.

    On the outside both Silverado and Sierra have entirely need sheet metal resting atop a revised frame. Throughout development speculation circulated that the two trucks would be highly differentiated from a style perspective, but that has turned out to not be the case. Instead, Silverado and Sierra remain just as close style wise as they are today, but that’s an argument for another day.

    In person both trucks look far more significant than today’s versions. The new hood is higher, almost as high as today’s heavy-duty trucks, and the quarter panels serve as a canvas for far more pronounced creases and flares. The awkwardness that plagues certain angles of the 900’s, such as the front clip and plain cab design are gone.

    The front graphic of both trucks is an improvement from today’s, however the Silverado design looks as if it’s evolution started with the GMT-800 Silverado and entirely forgot today’s truck – which isn’t particularly a bad thing. From a ¾ view of the front clip, the Silverado has a striking similarity to the timeless appeal of the GMT-400 Silverado from the late 1990’s with its squared angles and stacked lamps.

    While not a design decision, the 2014 trucks have also switched to in-laid doors like the rest of the truck segment. The structural change pays mostly functional dividends, but also gives the cab a tougher look than the slab-sided doors on today’s versions.

    The interior of GM trucks has always been a sensitive issue, and reaction to the 2014 interior has seen no less drama. GM says that during owner clinics it became obvious to them that truck buyers don’t want a luxury car like interior, which is counter-intuitive to what the competition from Ford and Ram appear to be learning. In an era where F-150 Platinum and Ram Laramie sell in relatively high volumes (exact figures not available), it would seem having a luxury interior is a requirement in the segment.

    In GM’s defense, the new interior is a huge step forward from both flavors of the current trucks’ interior. Both Silverado and Sierra have seen sizable upgrades in material quality, with the Sierra in particular utilizing a wrapped dash with semi-soft material that will likely end up as best in the segment. Seams and switchgear have also been stepped up on the quality front, with seat fabric being in the realm of a huge leap from today’s chintzy stuff.

    With trucks, what really matters is capability. GM is pushing very hard to make the 2014 trucks the most capable half tons on the market. Specifically the company is expecting to have best in class V-6 torque, best in class V-6 towing and the most capable V-8 in the segment with the 6.2-liter V-8.

    All three of those goals are likely feasible, at least until the competition one-up’s them. GM is rolling out an entire new line of engines in the trucks: a 4.3-liter V-6, 5.3-liter V-8 and a 6.2-liter V-8. While the displacements are the same as today, these new engines share only a handful of part numbers with today’s engine lineup. For all intents and purposes, these are all-new powertrains.

    GMI recently drove engineering test trucks with the 4.3-liter V-6 and 5.3-liter V-8. While we cannot discuss our driving impressions because the trucks were engineering testers, we can confirm that the 4.3-liter V-6 feels nothing like todays. In fact, we’d slot it up there with today’s 4.8-liter V-8 in terms of how it “feels.”

    As for the new 5.3-liter, well, we’ll just say that it feels more powerful than today’s version. Both engines also go into V-4 mode more than today’s Vortec engines.

    All three engines will be mated to GM’s six-speed automatic transmissions. Many were expecting eight-speed units to rival what Ram is already doing, but the bottom line is fairly straightforward…GM’s eight-speeds simply are not ready. GMI fully expects eights to arrive in the trucks in the near future, however.

    So, GM gave their latest trucks a new design, all-new engines, a revised chassis and a fairly decent list of new features. In the words of Jeff Luke, executive engineer for GM trucks, “there are improvements across the board, with several significant improvements.”

    GM applied the formula we’ve seen a dozen times in the truck segment: evolution. We saw this level of change between the 2008 and 2009 F-150, and between the last two iterations of the Ram 1500. We’re now seeing it between the 2013 and 2014 GM trucks.

    Is it enough? We’ll have to wait until we spend more time driving them (and can report back), but its probably fair to say that the 2014 Silverado and Sierra will be the leaders of the pack for the first few months. The key for GM will be to keep improving the trucks because the competition is not sitting still and the bar is constantly rising.


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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    "GM applied the formula we’ve seen a dozen times in the truck segment: evolution. We saw this level of change between the 2008 and 2009 F-150, and between the last two iterations of the Ram 1500. We’re now seeing it between the 2013 and 2014 GM trucks."


    This tuck is coming out, just shy of 7 years since the last update, Ford and Chrysler have had much shorter (albeit milder) revisions.

    I guess the question to “slow and steady wins the race.” is, how slow is too slow, how steady is too steady?
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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    That pic looks like it's from the 1990s

    Still looks better than the Tundra though
    Last edited by steve333; 12-17-2012 at 09:45 AM.

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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    I can't wait to see the High Country and Denali trim.

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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    I hope they continue the evolution throughout the next generation. There is NO reason why the trucks cant receive distinct upgrades every year to keep them competitive. GM used to own the truck market and its time to get it back.


    I will say that the Sierra has grown on my immensely. I love the look. I cant wait to drive one.

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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    I agree with the article. As far as internet reactions to this truck; talk is cheap. Some people are just wanting something cool to see without the intent of buying, or they are feeling defensive about their competitor favorite brand. It almost sounds like some of the posters are expecting GM to build some SEMA show truck with tons of bells and whistles and outlandish capabilities. Problem is, those don't sell in volume. We'll let real truck buyers make the decision with real sales data in the coming years. I for one think these trucks are just what was needed; upgraded tow/haul capability, improved fuel economy, upgraded durability and a styling refresh. I can't wait for my next Silverado purchase.
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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    It's hard to judge the book by it's cover, since we don't know so much about the truck, but GM was not always about slow and steady evolution, just look at the GMT-400 trucks from their previous generation as well as ones that followed it. I'm not saying either is bad, just that after 7-years we were expecting a little more emphasis on things that count, unlike the continuous emphasis on the rear bumper step and bigger buttons. I really hope that GM delivers this truck in all bed/cab configurations that the competition has and all those touted hours of engine development yield results in the real world.

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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    thanks nsap. It sounds like the 6.2 won't be available till the fall on the 1500's. Is there any info on the 2500 HD's that you may have learned or asked about last week? Will the new body carry over 1:1 or can we expect any type of wheel well mod's. What is going on with the duramax for 2015? How about the 6.2 v8 for the 2014 2500 HD's.? Is Q3 reasonable to see the 2500 HD's on the lots?
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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    GM really does need to give MCE's or revisions every few years, not 7 years in the future. Give uncertain buyers more options and at least a reason to keep considering GM trucks if nothing there appeals to them right now.
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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by smith7629 View Post
    I agree with the article. As far as internet reactions to this truck; talk is cheap. Some people are just wanting something cool to see without the intent of buying, or they are feeling defensive about their competitor favorite brand. It almost sounds like some of the posters are expecting GM to build some SEMA show truck with tons of bells and whistles and outlandish capabilities. Problem is, those don't sell in volume. We'll let real truck buyers make the decision with real sales data in the coming years. I for one think these trucks are just what was needed; upgraded tow/haul capability, improved fuel economy, upgraded durability and a styling refresh. I can't wait for my next Silverado purchase.
    My words aren't cheap. I owned a 2006 Silverado, and traded it for a 2010 Ram. I was waiting patiently for Chevrolet to give me a reason to come back. This is from a guy that would've laughed at you in 2008 if you told me I'd buy a Dodge Ram. I love the exterior of these trucks- GM nailed it IMO. The interior is another story. I've complained about it enough, but I will not buy one with that interior that I have been shown. I know I am just one buyer, but many on here echo my sentiments as well. We will see how they stack up against the competition.
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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    I really like the new trucks. They're exactly what I was expecting - bolder styling, stylish truck interior, a few cool new features, FE improvements. I wasn't expecting anything over-the-top - it's a truck. I want it to look nice and function well with good quality. GM delivered on that.

    That being said, I don't think this interior will satisfy SUV buyers - especially in the Escalade and Denalli. I think GM needs a more car-like interior in those vehicles.
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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    The interior of GM trucks has always been a sensitive issue, and reaction to the 2014 interior has seen no less drama. GM says that during owner clinics it became obvious to them that truck buyers don’t want a luxury car like interior, which is counter-intuitive to what the competition from Ford and Ram appear to be learning. In an era where F-150 Platinum and Ram Laramie sell in relatively high volumes (exact figures not available), it would seem having a luxury interior is a requirement in the segment.
    I hope they didn't focus-group themselves into a less competitive truck. I have not warmed up to this interior. If this interior is what we get in the Suburban LTZ or *gasp* the Denali version of the Yukon XL...I will not be happy at all. I love my 2007 Yukon XL Denali and was looking forward to replacing it with a new one in a year or two with something similar.
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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    IMO that truck looks DAMNED good, and I can't wait to own one of my very own. Can't wait to hear the specs!

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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    I think the key to success with these trucks (against Ford) is to make a subtle change every year... This is what Ford has been doing to the F-150 and as a result, always looks fresh. I want to say the F-150 has had a new grill for the past 5 years. Why is this so hard for GM to do?

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    Re: Trucks Evolved: How GM's 2014 Trucks Follow Familiar Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by jzchev28 View Post
    IMO that truck looks DAMNED good, and I can't wait to own one of my very own. Can't wait to hear the specs!
    +1, but a 2500 HD for me
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