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SUVs to lead GM's next generation of big trucks
Afterward, pickups are to be replaced
June 18, 2004
BY JEFFREY McCRACKEN and MARK PHELAN
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITERS
Detroit Free Press
www.freep.com

When General Motors Corp. begins replacing its line of full-size trucks in early 2006, it will start with sport-utility vehicles, including all-new versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Envoy, the Free Press has learned.

Those new SUVs, along with an all-new version of the popular Cadillac Escalade and others, will be assembled at GM's assembly plants in Arlington, Texas, and Janesville, Wis.

As part of this next generation of GM's full-size truck line, a major $175-million investment already has been announced for Janesville and an announcement could be coming soon for Arlington, say GM officials, supplier officials and other people familiar with GM's plan.

GM's big trucks are North America's largest and the automaker's most important, vehicle line.

Unlike the rollout of the current line of heavy-duty GM trucks that were unveiled in 1998 and 1999, GM will introduce its new SUVs first, probably around March 2006. This next generation of full-size trucks, code-named GMT 900 within the automaker, will eventually produce at least 1.6 million vehicles a year at seven assembly plants, say insiders.

A lot will be riding on this new line, because its job will be to slowly replace the current generation of full-size GM trucks, which is code-named GMT 800 and has been wildly successful for GM, allowing it to earn multibillion-dollar profits in 2000-03 while its crosstown rivals at Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group struggled with red ink and restructuring.

Last year, about 1.85 million vehicles were built off the GMT 800 platform, making it the largest vehicle platform in North America and perhaps the world.

"We don't want to take any chances with this. The numbers are so large and the financial impact is so great that we research every step of what we do," said a GM insider who asked not to be named.

After the new SUVs roll out in 2006, GM will then wait about a year to replace its full-size pickup trucks, the popular Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. The launch of the new pickup trucks will start at GM's Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant in early to mid-2007, followed later by rollouts at Ft. Wayne, Ind., Pontiac and Flint.

"The SUVs will go into production first. SUVs are much a more fashion-conscious and profitable part of the market than pickups, so it makes sense to get them on the road first," said Jim Hall, vice president of auto analysis in the Southfield office of consultant AutoPacific.

When the current full-size truck lineup debuted in 1998, GM put the pickups in production first, kicking off with the Oshawa plant. According to GM insiders and others, then-GM chairman Jack Smith asked why SUVs weren't being done first.

GM officials declined to comment on the next lineup of full-size pickups and SUVs, saying they prefer to focus on the current lineup. The current platform was the basis for 11 vehicles, ranging from pickups like the Silverado and Sierra to SUVs like the Hummer H2 and Suburban.

"We have not said anything about future products or any future trucks. We continue to have sales momentum on our current trucks, and we just revamped them last year," GM spokesman Joe Jacuzzi said.

Insiders say styling of the new full-size SUVs will undergo more radical changes than on the pickup trucks, which GM sees as attracting a more conservative, business-minded, buyer.

Full Article Here

 

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Trucks are not going to be out until 2006? It isn't like these trucks are great products to begin with horrible front styling and ever aging ergonomics. By the time 2006 rolls along, Toyota will have a new full-sized truck, Dodge will be near adding yet another redo on its full-sized line, and Ford most certainly will have a freshened F-150 with new engines ready to take on the 'conservatively' styled GMT900's. And, if Nissan were smart, they'd can their ugly and poorly built full-sized trucks and have something saleable by 2006. GM is really not thinking with their trucks....unless conservative styling is different from their last redesign, they are likely to be only warmly received by those who think GM builds real trucks while real truck buyers shop elsewhere (like they already do). GM isn't serious about the more rugged model line that Ford has capitalized on in the different F-250 and up line and the new area that DC is now going into with their Dodge lines.

I feel for you GM truck owners. Just when you think GM is finally going to learn, they do the same old stupid stuff.
 

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well i do like the Silverado SS but GM trucks definitely have to get a redo and it should be sooner than later...the durango came out in 98 and the new tahoe came in for 2000 now the durango got redesign yet not very attractive to my eye but it did pick up the hemi engine..why does GM stall everything to get a smaller advantage on the competition?? yes of course the SUVs should look different than the pickups-look at fords pickups and SUVs..does the f150 look exactly like the explorer definitely not..does the expedition look like the f250 or 350 i dont think so..and if Nissan does come out of the ugly shell lol they might capitalize on GMs inability to produce trucks for the future of the company and competition..please come soon with a quicker proposal for the new trucks and suvs
 

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Just so you guys are aware the gmt900 utility will launch in 2006 as a 2007 model.
The pickup will launch in 2007 as a 2008 model. Thats 100% accurate.
 

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Originally posted by oldsintrigue00@Jun 18 2004, 04:17 PM
well i do like the Silverado SS but GM trucks definitely have to get a redo and it should be sooner than later...the durango came out in 98 and the new tahoe came in for 2000 now the durango got redesign yet not very attractive to my eye but it did pick up the hemi engine..why does GM stall everything to get a smaller advantage on the competition?? yes of course the SUVs should look different than the pickups-look at fords pickups and SUVs..does the f150 look exactly like the explorer definitely not..does the expedition look like the f250 or 350 i dont think so..and if Nissan does come out of the ugly shell lol they might capitalize on GMs inability to produce trucks for the future of the company and competition..please come soon with a quicker proposal for the new trucks and suvs
The Durango is allowed a 6-year cycle, but the Tahoe is not? Why is GM dragging their heals if they redesign after the same period of time?

Of course the F150 doesn't look exactly like the Explorer - they are two completely different plaforms (full-size vs. mid-size). The Silverado doesn't look exactly like the TrailBlazer either, which would be the same comparison. Heck even the Tahoe doesn't currently look exactly like the Silverado since '03. The Tahoe and Suburban didn't get the Avalanche front end.

Let's not lose site of the fact that GM has managed to sell close to a half a million(452,748 through May) of these "conservatively styled, outdated" (a general forum quote, not yours, olds) trucks already this calandar year. Higher incentives, yes. Older trucks can and should carry heavier incentives. Their design and tooling costs are mostly paid for. It's the natural order of things, and they are still making money on them.

The styling and age of the Silverado is a much, much bigger problem at GMI than it is in the real world.
 

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From a competitive standpoint, this news is indeed promising. Although I'm just as impatient about new vehicle launches as anyone else, generally the plan sounds reasonable. Balancing a platform that generates billions in profits, employs tens of thousands of people at many manufacturing plants, and requires enormous resources to redesign is no small feat. I'm not so sure anyone clearly does it better than GM.

The scope of these vehicles certainly does not lend itself to 4-year redesign cycles. That simply makes zero business sense. The GMT 800 provides formidable competition now: Silverado sales are up 2.9% thus far CYTD, the Sierra is up over 9.0%. Contrast that to the new Ram, which is up 1.0%. And it looks like GM plans to make GMT 900 formidable in the future. I stilll think the Tahoe is an attracively styled vehicle from the exterior. In my mind, GM needs only to freshen the exterior; it doesn't need a quantum leap in design. Where GM hopefully focuses its efforts is on significantly redesigned interiors and signficantly updated powertrains.

I agree that the GMT 800 has fierce, newer competition, but to be dismissive about GM's impact in full size trucks is not really appropriate, either. The product life cycles of Dodge, Ford, Toyota and Nissan are asynchronized. Should GM offer a redesign every time its competitors do? How fresh will the Armada be when the new Tahoe arrives for 2006? How long did it take Ford to answer the Tahoe and Yukon with its redesigned Expedition (which still doesn't surpass the 5 y.o. Tahoe in sales)?
 

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Originally posted by tgagneguam@Jun 18 2004, 05:26 PM
From a competitive standpoint, this news is indeed promising. Although I'm just as impatient about new vehicle launches as anyone else, generally the plan sounds reasonable. Balancing a platform that generates billions in profits, employs tens of thousands of people at many manufacturing plants, and requires enormous resources to redesign is no small feat. I'm not so sure anyone clearly does it better than GM.

The scope of these vehicles certainly does not lend itself to 4-year redesign cycles. That simply makes zero business sense. The GMT 800 provides formidable competition now: Silverado sales are up 2.9% thus far CYTD, the Sierra is up over 9.0%. Contrast that to the new Ram, which is up 1.0%. And it looks like GM plans to make GMT 900 formidable in the future. I stilll think the Tahoe is an attracively styled vehicle from the exterior. In my mind, GM needs only to freshen the exterior; it doesn't need a quantum leap in design. Where GM hopefully focuses its efforts is on significantly redesigned interiors and signficantly updated powertrains.

I agree that the GMT 800 has fierce, newer competition, but to be dismissive about GM's impact in full size trucks is not really appropriate, either. The product life cycles of Dodge, Ford, Toyota and Nissan are asynchronized. Should GM offer a redesign every time its competitors do? How fresh will the Armada be when the new Tahoe arrives for 2006? How long did it take Ford to answer the Tahoe and Yukon with its redesigned Expedition (which still doesn't surpass the 5 y.o. Tahoe in sales)?
Finally someone posts something that is intelligent and that makes sense! So many people post on these message boards that we need a new truck line and a new Camaro, More Saturns, redesigned Impalas, update the Ion, Bring our the Velite, and the list goes on. How much money do people think GM has and how many engineers. There is only so much to go around and it is probably spread pretty thinly right now with all the new vehicle launches coming out as well as the stuff in the works.
 

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Originally posted by monkeylizard+Jun 18 2004, 01:38 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (monkeylizard @ Jun 18 2004, 01:38 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-tgagneguam@Jun 18 2004, 05:26 PM
From a competitive standpoint, this news is indeed promising.  Although I'm just as impatient about new vehicle launches as anyone else, generally the plan sounds reasonable.  Balancing a platform that generates billions in profits, employs tens of thousands of people at many manufacturing plants, and requires enormous resources to redesign is no small feat.  I'm not so sure anyone clearly does it better than GM. 

The scope of these vehicles certainly does not lend itself to 4-year redesign cycles.  That simply makes zero business sense.  The GMT 800 provides formidable competition now: Silverado sales are up 2.9% thus far CYTD, the Sierra is up over 9.0%.  Contrast that to the new Ram, which is up 1.0%.  And it looks like GM plans to make GMT 900 formidable in the future.  I stilll think the Tahoe is an attracively styled vehicle from the exterior.  In my mind, GM needs only to freshen the exterior; it doesn't need a quantum leap in design.  Where GM hopefully focuses its efforts is on significantly redesigned interiors and signficantly updated powertrains. 

I agree that the GMT 800 has fierce, newer competition, but to be dismissive about GM's impact in full size trucks is not really appropriate, either.  The product life cycles of Dodge, Ford, Toyota and Nissan are asynchronized.  Should GM offer a redesign every time its competitors do?  How fresh will the Armada be when the new Tahoe arrives for 2006?  How long did it take Ford to answer the Tahoe and Yukon with its redesigned Expedition (which still doesn't surpass the 5 y.o. Tahoe in sales)?
How much money do people think GM has and how many engineers. There is only so much to go around and it is probably spread pretty thinly right now with all the new vehicle launches coming out as well as the stuff in the works. [/b]
i agree with both these replys. i had a tour of the GM truck plant in oshawa. let me tell you these places are crazy. so well organized and CLEAN!!! id eat off the floors of the plant. before the tour one of the managers gave us a little brefing about how GM is trying to improve there quality. GM tries to get there customers to send them back surveys to see what they need to improve on the trucks. 2% of all people send the surveys back. so GM tell them that will give you a dollar to fill out the surveys. the return rate turned to 28%. this is the reason GM dosent get input from customers as to what they can do to improve the next design. GM spends 3.6 billion dollars a year on warranty claims to keep customers happy, so they come back and buy another GM product. for the full size trucks the one thing GM needs to do is spend more on the interior of there trucks. both the Yukon and Tahoe are good looking SUVs. i like the look of the yukon more but besides that i can wait to see what there gonna do till then
 

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Originally posted by monkeylizard+Jun 18 2004, 06:38 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (monkeylizard @ Jun 18 2004, 06:38 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-tgagneguam@Jun 18 2004, 05:26 PM
From a competitive standpoint, this news is indeed promising.  Although I'm just as impatient about new vehicle launches as anyone else, generally the plan sounds reasonable.  Balancing a platform that generates billions in profits, employs tens of thousands of people at many manufacturing plants, and requires enormous resources to redesign is no small feat.  I'm not so sure anyone clearly does it better than GM. 

The scope of these vehicles certainly does not lend itself to 4-year redesign cycles.  That simply makes zero business sense.  The GMT 800 provides formidable competition now: Silverado sales are up 2.9% thus far CYTD, the Sierra is up over 9.0%.  Contrast that to the new Ram, which is up 1.0%.  And it looks like GM plans to make GMT 900 formidable in the future.  I stilll think the Tahoe is an attracively styled vehicle from the exterior.  In my mind, GM needs only to freshen the exterior; it doesn't need a quantum leap in design.  Where GM hopefully focuses its efforts is on significantly redesigned interiors and signficantly updated powertrains. 

I agree that the GMT 800 has fierce, newer competition, but to be dismissive about GM's impact in full size trucks is not really appropriate, either.  The product life cycles of Dodge, Ford, Toyota and Nissan are asynchronized.  Should GM offer a redesign every time its competitors do?  How fresh will the Armada be when the new Tahoe arrives for 2006?  How long did it take Ford to answer the Tahoe and Yukon with its redesigned Expedition (which still doesn't surpass the 5 y.o. Tahoe in sales)?
Finally someone posts something that is intelligent and that makes sense! So many people post on these message boards that we need a new truck line and a new Camaro, More Saturns, redesigned Impalas, update the Ion, Bring our the Velite, and the list goes on. How much money do people think GM has and how many engineers. There is only so much to go around and it is probably spread pretty thinly right now with all the new vehicle launches coming out as well as the stuff in the works. [/b]
I couldn't agree more.

And another thing to keep in mind with full sized truck sales: With brand loyalty running higher in this segment than any other, only a small portion of the sales are actually up for grabs every year anyway. The vast majority of Ford guys kept buying Fords when they were the oldest trucks on the market, the vast majority of GM guys will keep buying GM trucks even though they are the oldest design now. Nissan creates a powerful truck with a lot of features and a decent price, and can't even hit it's 100K sales forecast because it's not one of the established brands.

It doesn't make sense to put the kind of investment necessary to keep full-sized trucks (the broadest, most complex platforms imaginable) updated every 5 years, when most of your buyers will stick with you for 7 or 8, and the others will come back when you do eventually redesign.
 

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Originally posted by darryl32v@Jun 18 2004, 11:44 AM
Just so you guys are aware the gmt900 utility will launch in 2006 as a 2007 model.
The pickup will launch in 2007 as a 2008 model. Thats 100% accurate.
Correct, GM-Oshawa shuts down every year for the first 2 weeks in July to do all the neccessary work for the upcoming new model year. So by the 3rd week in July they are producing the new model year.

The launch of the new pickup trucks will start at GM's Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant in early to mid-2007
This would mean the new trucks for the 2008 model year will be just then, right after shutdown in 2007. I am speaking of course in terms of the Silverado/Sierra Extended Cab and Crew Cab light duty trucks built here at Oshawa.
 

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In response to MelvinJ's GM executive-like quote that implied GM should update it's already crusty truck line every decade to save money, I don't think people are fully aware of the competition. Brand loyalty will only go so far if based on patriotism and history (GM) compared to brand loyalty based on actually loving the car/truck for whatever reason. People outside the Michigan area are liking other SUVs based on past reliability reasons or perhaps are attracted to it's sleek design that Detriot wouldn't even think about doing (i.e. Infiniti FX45)

It's important to update every so often in face of competition, and not just sit out and wait for it to come while reaping the rewards. And by then it's too late. (i.e. Detriot's current position)

The reason people are asking for Velites, Camaros and other cars/trucks that are impossible to build in a short timeframe is because GM has nothing else that stirs up the soul like these cars do. Sure the Corvette is nice, and hey so is the SSR, but that's not what most people can afford. Most people however can afford a Camaro (perhaps a lower model) or the affordable lexus, Buick, if it has the Velite design. If they can't get it, they'll just move on to Mustangs or an Acura TSX.

So comon guys, be serious and don't be stupid. Most of us here are die-hard GM fans (me kinda, as u can tell, or else I wouldn't have written this) and won't buy anything else other than GM. But the other 95% out there are not GM die hard fans and will buy something in terms of awesome design, percieved quality and other stuff.

P.S.

whoever says a Tahoe is quite handsome and sexy needs some glasses.....fast.
 

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Originally posted by laserwizard@Jun 18 2004, 10:51 AM
Trucks are not going to be out until 2006?  It isn't like these trucks are great products to begin with horrible front styling and ever aging ergonomics. 
The front end styling isn't great, but I wouldn't call it horrible...to each his own, I guess. And the ergonomics of these trucks are great...nice oversized buttons and switches and everything is easy to reach. The interior definitely needs an overhaul in regards to materials and looks, but the ergonomics are fine.
GM is really not thinking with their trucks....unless conservative styling is different from their last redesign, they are likely to be only warmly received by those who think GM builds real trucks while real truck buyers shop elsewhere (like they already do).  GM isn't serious about the more rugged model line that Ford has capitalized on in the different F-250 and up line and the new area that DC is now going into with their Dodge lines.
I see tons of GM trucks at worksites...I guess these people aren't real truck buyers though.
 

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Originally posted by puma12@Jun 18 2004, 08:59 PM
In response to MelvinJ's GM executive-like quote that implied GM should update it's already crusty truck line every decade to save money, I don't think people are fully aware of the competition. Brand loyalty will only go so far if based on patriotism and history (GM) compared to brand loyalty based on actually loving the car/truck for whatever reason. People outside the Michigan area are liking other SUVs based on past reliability reasons or perhaps are attracted to it's sleek design that Detriot wouldn't even think about doing (i.e. Infiniti FX45)

It's important to update every so often in face of competition, and not just sit out and wait for it to come while reaping the rewards. And by then it's too late. (i.e. Detriot's current position)

The reason people are asking for Velites, Camaros and other cars/trucks that are impossible to build in a short timeframe is because GM has nothing else that stirs up the soul like these cars do. Sure the Corvette is nice, and hey so is the SSR, but that's not what most people can afford. Most people however can afford a Camaro (perhaps a lower model) or the affordable lexus, Buick, if it has the Velite design. If they can't get it, they'll just move on to Mustangs or an Acura TSX.

So comon guys, be serious and don't be stupid. Most of us here are die-hard GM fans (me kinda, as u can tell, or else I wouldn't have written this) and won't buy anything else other than GM. But the other 95% out there are not GM die hard fans and will buy something in terms of awesome design, percieved quality and other stuff.

P.S.

whoever says a Tahoe is quite handsome and sexy needs some glasses.....fast.
Gee, I don't remember saying anything about a decade. I said 7-8 years, which is the best anyone including Ford and Dodge, the only other manufacturers that have a full line of pickups, has ever done. To expect something sooner shows a complete ignorance for the costs involved here.

All kinds of people are entering the exploding SUV market, including a whopping 2000+ a month for the Infiniti FX. These aren't necessarily people that are trading in Tahoes. They are just as likely people trading in other Nissans and Infinitis for their first SUV.

Brand loyalty can only take you so far, but in the case of full-size trucks, it's certainly far enough to take you 7-8 years to the next redesign. GM did freshen the front ends, taillights, interiors, increased the horsepower of their V8's twice (third time coming in 2005), added new options (Quadrasteer, XM, 6-disc CD, 2005 sees a nav system added), new colors, new models (SS, Denali, regional sport packages), new body styles (1500 crew cab, extended cab with 5 ft box), new wheels, and 2005 will have a major revision to the brake system for better performance. All this since they were introduced in 1999. That's not what I call waiting it out.

If you don't like GM's trucks, by all means go out and buy a competitor's vehicle. The other million+ GM full-size truck buyers a year and I are happy with what is still a very competitive vehicle.

Oh yeah, I have glasses, and the Tahoe looks just fine. Do you honestly think the Expedition looks better? The Durango? Or the incredibly awkward looking Armada, with it's goofy arched back doors and windows? Tell me you aren't comparing it to the Infiniti FX, the SUV with no utility.
 

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GM did freshen the front ends, taillights, interiors, increased the horsepower of their V8's twice (third time coming in 2005)
I saw the changes in the front end, tailights, and horsepower -- as far as the interior, was it just the steering wheel, seat fabric...? I missed the interior changes - at least any on a scale similar to the front end change, which was drastic (and didn't go onto the Suburban).

On a side note, the 2003 Chevy Express Van underwent a minimal interior and exterior redesign, but the dash design looks very different. I kinda like it (even if they still have those cruddy radios).
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Jun 19 2004, 12:36 AM
GM did freshen the front ends, taillights, interiors, increased the horsepower of their V8's twice (third time coming in 2005)
I saw the changes in the front end, tailights, and horsepower -- as far as the interior, was it just the steering wheel, seat fabric...? I missed the interior changes - at least any on a scale similar to the front end change, which was drastic (and didn't go onto the Suburban).

On a side note, the 2003 Chevy Express Van underwent a minimal interior and exterior redesign, but the dash design looks very different. I kinda like it (even if they still have those cruddy radios).
The interior changes were very subtle. Mainly the steering wheel as you said, and the center console.

Suburban buyers are more conservative than pickup buyers. I don't think GM thought the Avalanche front end was appropriate for it. I would agree.
 

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GM tries to get there customers to send them back surveys to see what they need to improve on the trucks. 2% of all people send the surveys back. so GM tell them that will give you a dollar to fill out the surveys. the return rate turned to 28%. this is the reason GM dosent get input from customers as to what they can do to improve the next design.
you know GM execs could just visit sites like this one and
www.pickuptruck.com
and www.62-65-dieselpage.com/
and www.caranddriver
and any/all other sites where truck owners post,and ask people what they like. :type:
 

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:rolleyes: I think that the current line of GM trucks and sport utes look outdated.They have tons of power when compared to an Expedition or Navigator,but they lack style;and it's time to introduce a new design.I saw the 2006 GMC and i was not impressed at all.it looked more like a Ford Super Duty in the nose.I hope the Escalade distant it self far from the GMC/Tahoe twins.I hope that it seriously address the cheap "off the shelf" interior with a swanky burlwood top of the line lounge area.I like the looks of the Escalade,but i love the looks of the Navigators interior.Cadillac can really put a steak in the Navigators heart if it stay the course on traditional "Cadillac" interior,instead of a chevy/GMC truck.they executed very well with the XLR and the STS interiors.I'm looking forward to the 2006 SLADE.Shaqille Oneal and snoop dog has already got a peep at next Escalade,by attending an "All GM party in California".Cadillac was trying to get input from the rap/atheletes on the upcomming Escalade.Some have said that the V-12 engine for the "V" series is not gonna happen.But instead,a supercharged 6.0Liter [email protected]h ever way they choose to go,i'm sure it will be something worth while waiting for.
 

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Originally posted by puma12@Jun 18 2004, 08:59 PM
whoever says a Tahoe is quite handsome and sexy needs some glasses.....fast.
once again, we have opinion stated as fact! good lord... is it so inconceivable that someone finds these trucks attractive? sure, many might not like the look, but to suggest that someones vision has to be impaired before they'd like the look of these trucks... it's just foolish! there are people that would argue that ANY car isn't appealing. heck, even the beloved corvette has it's detractors.

a discussion on GM's timing to replace these trucks is interesting, though of course no consensus will be reached. same with the looks. i think it's hilarious that you can flat out say that something as subjective as styling has a definite answer. or that over 1 million americans annually require corrective eyewear! man, i'm investing my money in lenscrafters!
 
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