Chevrolet completely redesigns full-size truck for 2019

Ford's F-Series is seeing changes this year, while new Ram and Chevy trucks get changes for the 2019 model year.

The highest-volume vehicle GM sells in North America is a full-size pickup truck-one that likely also contributes outsize profits from each of its hundreds of thousands of units. Sales rose nearly 6 percent a year ago to almost 2.4 million, even though total US auto sales dropped 2 percent.

As pickup sales have grown the category "has become a much more cutthroat competitive segment", said Ed Sanchez, an automotive industry analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Ram has managed to grow in the USA even with one of the oldest full-size pickups on the market, with sales up 40 percent since 2007, according to Autodata Corp.

This year's Detroit Auto Show is packed full of iconic nameplates that wouldn't even frown when faced with any sort of rough terrain. The automaker surveyed more than 7,000 people to figure out the priorities of the new pickup, finishing up with more body variants and more engine and transmission combinations.

Ford is countering that with its first diesel engine on the F-150, a 3-liter V6 that's expected to get 30 miles per gallon on the highway. A host of compartments and doo-dads improve the Silverado's accessibility, not to mention its capabilities at the job site or on the interstate. "Also they're giving them verifiable increases in performance". The headlamps are now swept a bit back into the fenders. But women are gaining ground, making up 17 percent of registered owners past year from 14.7 percent in 2007.


All Silverado 1500s will have the Chevrolet name stamped on the tailgate, while some of the trim levels will have the classic bow tie in front and others will have the name Chevrolet boldly scrolled across a center bar through the grille. The wheelbase is 4-inches longer, though the truck itself only grew by 1.5-inches overall. The hood was raised to evoke a big rig - and improve aerodynamics.

In contrast to Ford, which launched an all-aluminum F-150 in 2015, then broadened that application into its larger brethren, the F-250 Super Duty, GM has taken a different path to losing weight. 80 percent of the frame consists of high-strength steel, varying from two to five millimeters in thickness, depending on location. The system replaces the alternator with a motor and a 48-volt battery pack, which can shut down the truck at stop lights to save fuel and boost acceleration. The boxes look similar to the Nissan Titan aftermarket boxes, but they also echo back to the long-gone Chevy Avalanche and slide-in box of current 2018 Silverado 1500 High Country.

It does have an aluminum hood, doors and tailgate, but the body and bed floor are made from several different grades of steel.

By opting for a mixed-material construction, the new half-ton model is able to drop 450 pounds in comparison to the outgoing truck while keeping the strength of heavy-duty materials where it counts. The 2019 Chevy Silverado has an option for an all-new Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six. The new Chevy beds have been redesigned to provide a much wider mouth to swallow cargo, meaning that they'll now have the largest volume beds in the class.

"Developing an all-new structure gave us an opportunity to examine the proportions of the truck", Mike Simcoe, VP of global design, says.

As always, ever more sophisticated computer modeling allows big auto companies to simulate their designs before a single prototype is built. Reduced weight also makes the truck more agile, appealing to all buyers, he said.


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