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GM gives its big pickups a much-needed makeover

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm •  Published: December 13, 2012

GM needs to jump on those trends. It is having a tough time selling its current trucks against Ford's F-150 and Chrysler's Ram. The Silverado is the second-best selling vehicle in America at almost 367,000 through November. But its sales are flat with last year. Sales of Ford's F-Series, the nation's top-selling vehicle, are up almost 12 percent at 577,000.

Full-size GM pickup sales fell 8 percent last month while competitors saw increases. At the end of November, GM had enough trucks on dealer lots to supply them for 139 days of sales. A 60-day supply is considered optimal.

Reuss says GM raised incentives to match competitors, and sales in early December are strong. The company didn't offer big deals last month and it hurt.

Reuss says GM intends to outsell Ford's F-Series, but he wouldn't put a time frame on reaching the goal.

About one in every 10 GM trucks sold this year came with a V-6 engine, and the rest had bigger V-8s. Reuss says he doesn't expect that to change much even though about 50 percent of Ford F-150s have the smaller engines to get better gas mileage.

GM plans to introduce new big SUVs and midsize pickup trucks in 2014, Reuss says. Also, the Silverado and Sierra will be updated more frequently.

The GMC and Chevy trucks, which are essentially the same vehicles, also will get six-speed automatic transmissions on all models, which should improve gas mileage. Some models now have older four-speed transmissions that aren't as efficient. The Sierra, though, is aimed at more upscale buyers who want luxury and practicality.

All three new engines have efficient direct fuel injection, and GM says they can switch seamlessly to run on only four cylinders to use less gas. The engines will have more torque and horsepower than the older models.