GM’s new Chevy Silverado bids for more U.S. pickup profits

General Motors debuts its 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck at Eastern Market in Detroit,
General Motors debuts its 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 13, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

January 15, 2018

By Nick Carey and Joseph White

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co on Saturday fired a new round in the battle for profits from one of the U.S. auto industry’s most lucrative segments when it showed a new generation of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck at Detroit’s auto show.

The new Silverado, a highlight of the show, is the successor to GM’s best-selling vehicle in North America. Sales of the current Silverado rose nearly 2 percent to 585,000 vehicles in 2017.

Analysts and company executives say the Silverado and the similar GMC Sierra are among the highest-profit models for the company, generating a significant share of its $9 billion in North American pretax earnings for the first nine months of 2017.

By adding luxury features to their pickups, automakers have pushed prices in the segment to an average $46,984 a vehicle, according to Cox Automotive. That is well above the industry’s average 2017 transaction price of $31,600 cited by GM.

Competition in the North American large pickup market will heat up as GM and rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV begin selling their redesigned trucks later this year and Ford Motor Co invests in its best-selling F-series.

Speaking on stage flanked by several gleaming new Silverados, GM global product development chief Mark Reuss said the automaker had cut the pickup’s weight 450 pounds (204 kilograms) using lighter materials including aluminum doors, hood and tailgate.

But unlike Ford, which jolted the industry in December 2014 when it launched the current generation F-150 with an all-aluminum body, Reuss said the frame and above all the pickup truck bed – one of the most important parts of pickups used for work functions – were still made of steel.

“I don’t think you’d get much work done with an aluminum hammer,” Reuss said, in a dig at Ford.

Fiat Chrysler plans to unveil a new generation of its Ram pickup truck at Detroit’s auto show on Monday.

At a sneak preview in December, GM said it would offer eight versions of the new Silverado and more engine and transmission combinations than the current lineup.

Executives said the new Silverado would have a high-strength steel bed floor and use “mixed materials” to cut weight and improve fuel economy.

The F-series, which has an aluminum body, has been the best-selling model line in the United States for 41 years, with 2017 sales of nearly 900,000 vehicles.

Ford announced this month it will launch a diesel version of the F-150 that will achieve 30 miles per gallon highway fuel efficiency, a level comparable to some midsize cars as it seeks to gain an edge in this competitive segment.

When describing the fuel economy of the diesel version of the Silverado Saturday evening, Reuss said “I am confident that we have the best performing diesel in the segment.”

Last year GM sold a total of 947,972 of its four Chevrolet and GMC pickup models, two of which were mid-sized.

U.S. consumers are shifting away from smaller cars in favor of larger SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks, a major boon for the Detroit automakers.

Light trucks accounted for 63.2 percent of U.S. new vehicle sales in 2017, up from 59.5 percent in 2016.

However, U.S. new vehicle sales fell 2 percent in 2017 after hitting a record high in 2016 and are expected to drop further in 2018 as interest rates rise and more late-model used cars come back to dealer lots to compete with new ones.

(Reporting by Nick Carey and Joseph White; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and David Gregorio)

  • drake

    Why no mention of Toyota? I am sure they outsold “somebody” didn’t they? As in previous years, Toyota is slowly but methodically taking a higher share of the Light Truck market. Which is a good thing since they are non union.

  • Roscoe

    Nothing on 4 wheels is worth that kind of money if you have to pay for it with payments. I bought a new Silverado in 2015 and expect to be still driving it in 2015, with no payments beginning to end, thank God.

  • Michael G. Wilson

    When changing a fuel filter becomes a 8 hour job, as it is on most FORD’s it has gone nuts!

  • ELCID

    Don’t forget Aluminum bodies that are easily damaged and cost massively more to repair than cheap steel

  • ELCID

    Selling more “HOUSE TRUCKS,” to people who don’t need them and should not have them.

  • Twinkle Toes

    That truck is UGLY.

  • turnipweed

    How about a pickup that when it throws a code, the dealer has to stay on the phone for an hour to find out what it means?

  • turnipweed

    They’re going to fiddle-faddle with pickups until the working man can’t afford them. Then,,, the Koreans and Chinese will start marketing something affordable, and GM, Ford, Dodge, and Toyota will whine and complain.

  • KennyEee

    Priced me out to!!

  • Stonecrusher

    Saying that the Silverado is GM’s best seller doesn’t speak well for GM. The real test is how goes the truck compare in the general market place? Not that sterling.

  • HarryObrian

    Totally agree but you’re being too sensible, you’re not the clientele they’re looking for. They want the people who go to the dump once a week, who think they need a 70k P/U to do that and keep up with the Joneses. Or the people who have cash businesses that can write those trucks off while filling their mattresses and then eventually claim bankruptcy and walk away with their mattresses. I digress…
    Remember, these are the “Roaring 10’s” and the more debt the better because fiat currency is just a number and has no real value.

    • Andrew Moore8

      You are right about that…..but our fiat money still has value….that value is DEBT…..if you are in debt you have to work to pay that debt…If you work, you produce something…..you produce something you help the GDP….a healthy strong GDP equals a strong economy….a strong economy means more money being lent to the US government from the world banks.

    • TexanForever

      Fiat currency: no ties to precious metals; we’re on our way to a Weimar Republic economy. With LBJ we went to steel coins and Affirmative Action. … Way to go, Dimms!!!
      .

    • ELCID

      Maybe the dealers will let people pay for them with Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin?
      They’ll be able to just make some up on their computers, and send it to them for payments.

  • Andrew Moore8

    Don’t forget you got to have the seat heaters for all the seats….because the regular heater just isn’t enough to keep you warm

  • Andrew Moore8

    You know who the guy is that will clean up in the pickup truck market? The guy who gets the price back down to around 20 grand.

  • America’s Greatest President

    the american customer abused with the purchase or rental price, repairs are obscenely priced
    what a great door opener for a company to win over the buying public like the japanese did with fuel saving vehicles in the 70’s either earn our business or go extinct

  • TYvets

    Still has has an EDR?

  • a voice of concern

    I bought GM vehicles for 40 years and the Silverado was a blow against my loyalty and then the Equinox ended it.
    My last Silverado = ABS never worked from the factory and the dealer refused to fix it without $1000 out of my pocket so I pulled the fuse, the front rotors fell apart at 20,000 miles, The U joints came apart every 30,000 , the fuel pump died 3 times while driving down the road, the power window motors on both sides averaged a failure about once a year, the pressure reg on the fuel rail would fail driving at highway speeds resulting in jerking and poor fuel mileage and no dealer could diagnose the problem, there were multiple engine air intake issues.
    EQUINOX = Ac never worked right from the factory and finally failed completely 200 miles after warranty was up, the turning radius was worse than a Lincoln Continental stretch, the roof antenna fell off during every snow or ice storm, The rear wiper stopped working the third time I used it, I made the mistake of activating the ONSTAR and then tried unsuccessfully to cancel this worthless feature a dozen times.
    I NOW DRIVE NISSAN WITH PRIDE. Pumps gas, change oil and tires and drive it.

  • vagaboondu

    … got that, right !

  • ed delacruz

    Who cares, I got my 2000 Silverado that suites me just fine!

    • HDRidinPatriot

      I agree with you. I have an ’06 Sierra crewcab and just had to put rockers on. My state loves that calcium chloride. It’s my car and my truck and I plan on keeping it for as long as I can.

  • PainfullyReality

    There are still Detroit automakers?

  • TexanForever

    How ’bout just a plain ass-hauling dependable truck without any bells and whistles that I can drive, beat up, and afford?
    .

    • Andrew Moore8

      Yup….I have a 2006 dodge ram sport….over 200K miles on the HEMI engine and still going strong….had a few problems….radiator leak, wheel bearings, heater core, oil pressure sensor….but all in all over the 12 years I have owned it it has never once left me stranded or walking….paid around 28K out the door back in 06 and thought that was high priced

    • rf396

      How DARE YOU use common sense when they’re working so hard to pull the wool over your eyes!!!!!

    • HDRidinPatriot

      And a bench seat, they were the best for dating.

      • TexanForever

        How true. Played many a game of stink-finger on a bench seat.
        .

    • Roscoe

      I do like my back up camera.

  • TexanForever

    Always had bad luck with Chevy trucks. Chrysler (which Obama gave to Fiat) and Ford Trucks were always far better. All GM products (now produced by Obama’s unions) really suck.
    .

    • unwinding_44

      As a GM Certified Technician, I agree with you. I’ve worked in GM Dealerships for 12 years so far and I own a Ram 1500 and a Jeep grand Cherokee. Ford Trucks went down hill starting in the mid 90’s.

      • Think 2 Moves Ahead

        This plan for us is to purchase a vehicle in 2018 for work commute and vacations. This article and comments are helpful. As Guest post says, the vehicle market is such a hit to finances so a vehicle decision has massive expenses. Our state charges sales tax so that adds $2000 to initial out of pocket, then add insurance to the bills.

    • rf396

      The last great thing to roll off the GM assembly line was the 70 Chevelle SS. 396 or 454. Since then the trajectory has been decidedly DOWNHILL and they show no signs of ever correcting it. They SHOULD HAVE gone the way of the DODO but thanks to GUBMINT they are still hard it producing junk

      • looking write ?

        454 with solid lifters 😉

        • Michael G. Wilson

          I have one in my 95 3500HD, and it still pulls stumps rooted into China! My only recurring problem is the exhaust manifolds and their gaskets!

    • MacBobT

      I won’t buy another Government Motors vehicle 🚗 period!

  • TexanForever

    … great post
    .

  • wildfire1944

    Ever since the obuttflosser epa forced them to get rid of the 8.1 Vortec I have had no use for them.

    • TexanForever

      … “obuttflosser” … nice
      .

  • Norman Howe

    The Chevy Silverado is looking light a Ford F-150 more and more!! Ford F-150 has been a best seller for many, many years—no wonder the Chevy is looking like a Ford!!! I will say though, the new Chevy trucks are looking really good and wish them all the best in 2018!!!

    • Jim Hatfield

      I care little about the way they look. Each brand seems to have it’s own problems that will have to be dealt with.

      • HarryObrian

        Agree and the EPA isn’t doing them any favours as well.
        Aside from the technical issues they have they just don’t last nor do handle loads anymore which is why the trailer market has grown so big, not to mention the added revenue to states from the additional fees and taxes for trailers.

    • YES

      When Chevy sales are combined with GMC’s, then GM is the largest manufacturer of light trucks.