We are hours from getting more details of the fourth-generation 2019 Chevrolet Silverado that will come in eight models with more powertrain combinations, technology and features than the outgoing model.
New from the ground up and riding on a new platform, it also gets a redesign after criticism the current generation did not make enough of a splash.
And it still uses a lot of steel.
Ford reinvented the F-150 in 2015 with an aluminum body replacing steel for a weight loss of as much as 700 pounds, enabling smaller and lighter engines as part of an overall package that is more fuel-efficient. But GM prefers what it calls a mixed-materials strategy. The truck keeps its high-strength body and frame but uses aluminum, magnesium and other metals and composites liberally to drop weight and improve efficiency. Keeping a steel body avoids having to redo the body shop and buy all-new equipment to work with aluminum, which Ford had to do at great cost and time, resulting in a temporary loss of production and profits.
Full details will be revealed ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A full range of engines could include a 3.6-liter V-6 as the base engine. The trucks are expected to have the new 10-speed automatic transmission developed in partnership with Ford and is also in the F-150. GM already has the 10-speed in a number of its large SUVs including the Chevrolet Tahoe RST, Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali as well as the Camaro ZL1.
Last month, GM teased us with a look at the 2019 Silverado LT Trailboss, an off-road variant with equipment from the Z71 package and a suspension raised an additional two inches. The dramatic preview—the truck arrived dangling from a helicopter—was part of an event in Texas for pickup owners to celebrate the Chevy truck centennial. The Trailboss is one of the eight models.
GM has high expectations for the new truck and is boosting capacity to make more of the popular crew cab versions that account for the majority of sales and where supply has been constrained, Mark Reuss, head of global product development, said last week at CES. Crew cabs for both Silverado and GMC Sierra, with four large doors, are built in Silao, Mexico while regular and double cab pickups are made in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Heavy-duty pickups are made in Flint, Michigan. GM reportedly spent $3 billion to retool its plants for the 2019 pickups.
GM sold 585,864 Silverados in 2017 (including heavy duty trucks), up 1.9 percent from the previous year, and 217,943 GMC Sierras, down 1.7 percent. But the segment as a whole increased almost 6 percent with F-150 as the dominant player (F-Series, including heavy-duty trucks, sales ended the year at 896,764, up 9.3 percent) and Ram 1500-3500 sold 500,723, up 2 percent and gaining share.
FCA is showing a redesigned Ram 1500 at the Detroit auto show on Monday and Ford is adding a diesel option to the F-150 lineup. The auto show has a heavy emphasis on trucks with Ford also planning to unveil its new 2019 Ranger.
Silverado 2500HD and Silverado 3500HD heavy-duty models carry over from the 2018 model year with a few small changes and updates.
In March, Chevy will show the new 2019 Silverado 4500HD and 5500 medium-duty trucks at the Work Truck Show. GM got out of the medium-duty segment as part of its downsizing during the 2009 bankruptcy but is getting back into the segment with trucks coming later this year that were developed in partnership with Navistar and will be built in Springfield, Ohio.