The full-sized truck offerings from General Motors are due for a redesign, but there’s a possibility that the current Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra may stick around for a bit longer. GM CEO Dan Akerson stated today that it doesn’t make sense to accelerate the rollout of new trucks in the middle of rising fuel costs.
“Trucks would not be a program that we’d move up in a mileage-sensitive market,” he said.
In a recent report by the Associated Press, the price for a barrel of oil jumped above $110 for the first time since September 2008. In addition, “Americans are paying $247 million more per day at the pump than they were at the start of the year,” the report stated.
According to Akerson, GM devised a contingency plan in November to prepare for oil jumping over $120 per barrel, though details of the plan weren’t released.
Akerson’s announcement likely doesn’t sit well with dealers. Trucks have traditionally been the biggest profit maker in an automaker’s product portfolio and many dealers are eager to start selling the next-gen Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra instead of more fuel efficient, but less profitable, small cars. Also unknown is the fate of the GMC Sierra All Terrain HD concept that was unveiled at the Detroit auto show and has had a positive reaction from the press and public. The All Terrain could be GM’s answer to Ford’s souped-up F-150 SVT Raptor and Ram’s Power Wagon trucks.
Not surprisingly, GM sedans and small cars have taken priority and center stage. The 2013 Chevy Malibu, for example, was unveiled at this week’s New York and Shanghai auto shows with much fanfare, and Akerson is pushing for a sale date of Spring 2012, four months earlier than originally planned. Chevy’s smaller sedan, the Cruze, was recently released in the U.S. market and has been a success thus far; it was the brand’s top seller for the first quarter of 2011.
With gas prices showing no signs of easing anytime soon, it’s possible GM will use the longer development time to create additional fuel-sipping powertrains. The Silverado and Sierra are already offered with hybrid technology, but will they follow Ford’s lead and offer a turbocharged V6?
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required), AP