2014 Chevrolet Silverado, Sierra Going on Weight-Loss Program
Continued Strategic Lightening of Trucks Prioritized Under Competitive Pressure
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 may just now be rolling off dealer lots and into the hands of customers, but GM is reportedly keeping the throttle down on continued updates to the company's volume leaders. The highest-priority improvements are reportedly in the area of weight loss, Reuters reports. Model for model, the trucks are between 250 and 400 pounds lighter than their equivalent predecessors, but many analysts and industry-watchers are expecting the 2015 Ford F-150 to shed as much as 700 pounds over the current model, potentially putting GM a step behind when Dearborn's new trucks debut.
A full-fledged redesign of the GM trucks is not expected again until 2019, but in the meantime, running upgrades with more extensive use of aluminum and composites, and powertrain refinements are poised to keep the General's full-size standard bearers competitive. A special high-efficiency version of the Silverado, similar in concept to the XFE version of the outgoing model, is expected next year, with a targeted weight reduction of 250 lb, and a fuel economy improvement of as much as 20 percent, alluded to by GM suppliers familiar with the project.
The biggest potential winners in the quest for lightweight trucks could be aluminum suppliers, with Alcoa projecting its sales of sheet aluminum to triple by 2015, largely on demand from automakers.