Spy Shots: General Motors HD Pickups Prepare for Launch

April 23, 2018 by Ryan ZumMallen, @Zoomy575M

General Motors is deep into testing of its upcoming 2020 heavy-duty pickup trucks.

Both the Chevrolet Silverado 2500-3500HD and the upscale GMC Sierra 2500-3500HD have been spotted on public roads, providing a glimpse of what to expect from the new trucks.

These photos, taken in Flagstaff, Ariz., earlier this month, show Silverado HD and Sierra HD models towing a flatbed trailer and operating as a chassis cab truck. The pickups are configured as 2500HD, the 3500HD “dually” and a chassis cab, demonstrating the range of capabilities required of heavy duty trucks.

GM said earlier this month that production of the new models will begin in the third quarter of 2019.

The heavy-duty models will serve as larger, more capable siblings to the all-new 2019 Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 that debuted earlier this year. Those light duty trucks will go on sale in the fall.

In these heavy-duty photos, the trucks with small orange lights that are positioned above the headlamps are believed to be the Chevrolet Silverado. Those with a thin LED strip are the GMC Sierra variant.

  • Silverado 3500. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • Silverado 3500. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • Silverado 2500. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • Silverado 2500. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • Sierra 3500 Dual Cab. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • Sierra 3500 Dual Cab. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • Sierra 3500. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • Sierra 3500. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
The prototypes appear noticeably larger than the current heavy-duty generation, indicating that the new trucks will increase in size and likely feature greater interior space for passengers.

Currently, GM’s heavy-duty trucks are powered by a 6.0-liter V8 engine or a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8. Both are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It is unknown whether the new trucks will carry over those powertrains or introduce something new.

The new trucks are also expected to increase maximum payload capacity and towing capability by reducing weight. Truck makers are turning to combinations of lightweight materials such as aluminum, high-strength steel and even carbon fiber in order to shed pounds. The strategy is called lightweighting.

The new heavy-duty trucks may also borrow a page from the smaller Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500, which employ a new stamping technique to increase the width of the truck bed floor by 6.75 inches. The move gives the light duty trucks class-leading 63 cubic feet of cargo volume.

The heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra will compete against the Ford F-250 and F-350 as well as the Ram 2500 and 3500. Ford’s heavy-duty models were redesigned in 2017 and Ram will launch a new generation for 2020.

Through the first quarter of 2018, Ford leads the full-size pickup truck sales race. Its F-Series lineup sold 214,000 units, an increase of 4.3 percent compared with the same period in 2017.

Sales of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500-3500 rose 5.5 percent to more than 135,000 sales while the Ram 1500-3500 fell by 12.8 percent to fewer than 104,000 units through the first quarter. GMC moved more than 40,000 units of the Sierra 1500-3500, a drop of 18.5 percent.

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