Chevy Silverado drops 450 pounds for its debut in Detroit


The Chevrolet Silverado was last redesigned in 2014, and if this was a compact auto or a crossover, it would probably soldier on at least a couple more years. And it's a major departure from the squared-off and safe design that has defined Chevy's full-size pickups for decades. They include the basic Work Truck, Custom LT and Custom Trailboss. It looked tough to be sure. GM wouldn't say if any other engines would be offered, including a V6 gas engine that's now available.

General Motors Co on Saturday fired a new round in the battle for profits from one of the US auto industry's most lucrative segments when it showed a new generation of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck at Detroit's auto show.

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 almost 900,000 vehicles. Work Truck, Custom and LT occupy the bottom end of the equipment line. These trims are being grouped within three truck-buyer profiles: "High Value", "High Volume", and "High Feature". The LTZ and High Country, like today's Silverado, represent the more luxurious end of the spectrum.

The LT Trail Boss has a 2-inch suspension lift and plenty of off-road gear.

Engineers at Chevy used weight-saving materials throughout the pickup, including extensive use of high-strength steel for much of the body structure, including a roll-formed bed that's 7 inches wider. This is thanks to Chevrolet's focus on mixed material manufacturing, with components including a new 80% high-strength steel frame that is about 88 pounds lighter than the previous generation, aluminum swing panels, and a reengineered bed that utilizes higher-strength steel.

The new Silverado has a longer wheel base and more passenger and cargo space than the current model, yet is 450 pounds lighter.

That's a significant gap that GM needs to close with Ford's - and America's - most popular light truck model.

"Truck customers told us they want the ideal truck for them and not a "one size fits most" truck", said GM design boss Mike Simcoe.

Six engine/transmission combinations will be available, including new 5.3L and 6.2L V8s with fuel management systems that can shut off gasoline to any number of cylinders, and industry first.

The 6.2-liter V8 and the 3.0-liter Duramax will come with Chevy's 10-speed automatic transmission as standard. Officials at GM didn't disclose power or fuel economy figures but said the diesel engine would be among the tops of its class, which includes Ram, Ford, and Nissan.

It was also confirmed that the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will be offered at eight trim levels, including three all-new offerings. Out back, there are new live axles and a revised leaf-spring suspension design.

The frame, cab, and bed remain steel, with various individual structural pieces and running-gear components of other materials, including second-stage springs made of composite material-just as they are on the Corvette sports auto.

The truck's bed is made of stronger grade steel alloy.

The 2019 Silverado offers best-in-class cargo volume, with the short-box offering 63 cubic feet of volume - up to 20 percent more than a competitor's short-box.

As always, ever more sophisticated computer modeling allows big auto companies to simulate their designs before a single prototype is built. And to keep those heavy loads in place, there are now 12 tie downs.