2013 State Fair of Texas Truck Roundup
Ford and GM Take Different HD Strategies
Over the last 8-10 years, the State Fair of Texas has become one of the highest-profile events where manufacturers unveil their new truck offerings. Although some of the trims and models are regional in appeal, with plenty of "Texas Edition" trims from almost everyone, the fair has become the launching pad for major new models and announcements, and the 2013 Fair was no different. Both Ford and General Motors used the fair to debut their 2015 HD models, with the 2015 Ford Super Duty (See our First Look Here) and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD both getting their public reveal.
In what's become somewhat of an odd case of reality fulfilling a stereotype, Texas has become unquestionably the number one market in the U.S. for full-size trucks. Although you'd think this has been the reality since Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna, it's only been within the last 15 years that Texas' status as being the number one truck market has become an undeniable fact. Texas today accounts for one out of seven pickups sold in the U.S., a far greater proportional share of the market than the state's 26 million population relative to the 317 million of the entire U.S.
Ford and GM's approaches to the HD market differed, with GM focusing more on content, technology and refinement, with Ford unabashedly pursuing ultimate muscle in its initial reveal of the 2015 Super Duty.
GM Focus on Technology, Comfort, Safety
With the GM HD models receiving a comprehensive under-the-skin update for 2011, most of the changes to the 2015 GM HD models were in the form of an all-new body and interior, largely reflecting the styling of the 2014 1500-series models, and some added new safety and convenience features, including standard StabiliTrak for all models, including 3500 dualies, corner step rear bumpers like the 1500 models, and EZ Lift and Lower tailgates. Grade braking and an exhaust brake for diesel models is also standard for the 2015 models, and improvements to engine cooling.
The interiors of the HD models reflect the updates made for the 1500 models, with smoother, more contemporary styling, and the available MyLink and IntelliLink connectivity packages on the Chevrolet and GMC models respectively. GM also claimed the highest maximum payload capacity at 7374 lb, and the highest conventional (non 5th-wheel or gooseneck) towing capacity at 19,600.
The standard Vortec 6000 6.0-liter port-injected gasoline and LML 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V-8 engines carry over from last year's models, with the same 360hp/380 lb-ft and 397hp/765 lb-ft output ratings. The 2015 GM HD trucks are targeted to go on-sale in the first quarter of 2014.
Ram ProMaster, EcoDiesel Take Center Stage
Ram did not debut anything new at the State Fair of Texas, other than reiterating the debut of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and ProMaster commercial van earlier in the month, and highlighting the Ram 3500's class-leading 30,000-lb fifth-wheel towing capacity.
However, one additional tidbit on the 1500 EcoDiesel was revealed that hadn't previously been quantified, which was a targeted EPA highway fuel economy for the EcoDiesel of 27 mpg. Ram representatives later said they "hope to do even better" but that they were confident in announcing that figure as a baseline.
Toyota Trucks - Texas-Built
Toyota did not specifically reveal any new products, but emphasized its commitment to the Lone Star state in the form of 2900 direct employees at its TMMTX plant in San Antonio, which builds the Tundra and Tacoma, and the employment of an additional 3000 employees through its suppliers that supply components for the trucks. Trucks on display at Toyota's pavilion all wore "Born in Texas, Built by Texans" decals. Naturally, the Tundra 1794 Edition was highlighted as the company's homage to the state, and the founding of the ranch property where the manufacturing plant currently sits.
2015 Nissan Titan – Maybe Next Year?
The Nissan press conference largely focused on the new 2014 Rogue compact SUV, with no mention of the 2015 Titan, or the announcement of its available 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins diesel.