The 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500, shown at a centennial event, is billed as a complete re-design, with more customer research than any past GM pickup — feedback came from over 7,000 people. Like the aluminum F-150, it apparently shed a good deal of weight compared to past pickups; but it did so without restoring to aluminum body panels.
Automotive News wrote that the sharp curves suggest steel body panels; GM wrote that higher-grade alloys in the bed floor make it “more functional” and lighter in weight.
GM is possibly the most advanced company in using mixed materials together; the Silverado took advantage of these techniques, with the press release claiming “This use of mixed materials and advanced manufacturing is evident throughout the Silverado, resulting in a significant reduction in total vehicle weight and improved performance in many measures.”
GM is promising more powertrain combinations than in the past; Automotive News speculated this might include Cadillac’s potent V6 engines. Most likely, GM will include at least one hybrid option.
A new Trailboss model includes the Z71’s off-road equipment alongside a two-inch suspension lift from the factory. GM will likely target the Ford Raptor and Ram Rebel alike, possibly pre-targeting the Ram TRX in case it reaches production.
The Ram 1500 (shown above in camouflage) will be coming out at the same time; pilots have already started making their way down the newly re-fitted Sterling Heights plant that used to make unibody cars. It will face newly lightened GM and Ford pickups, using GM’s world-class dissimilar-metals bonding technologies and Ford’s expertise in aluminum (gained by the expedient method of hiring away all Chrysler’s aluminum experts back in the late 1990s).
All three companies are likely to end up with a light diesel, eight-or-ten speed automatic option, some sort of hybrid (in FCA’s case, likely the eTorque out of the Jeep Wrangler), and more conventional engines as well. Many believe Ram will debut the long-awaited “PUG” (Pentastar UpGrade) engine with direct injection, and will be the second former-Chrysler vehicle with belt-starter-generator stop-start systems. It may be a tough challenge for Ram, though, with GM finally matching (or coming close) in interiors, exterior styling, and capability.
The author of books on the Dodge Viper, Jeep pickups and wagons, and Chrysler minivans (as well as a kid’s book about early Jeeps), David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s; he also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.com and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. His latest book, for kids, is Meet the Jeep.
David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. You can reach him by using our contact form.