Competition is fierce and it's vital to keep up.
Detroit has long been ground zero in America's pickup truck war. GM, Ford, and FCA all call the city (or its suburbs) home. Their respective full-size pickup trucks are also huge sellers. The Ford F-150 has been America's best-selling vehicle for years and the Ram 1500 recently beat out the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for the second-place sales slot. Needless to say, Chevy didn't take too kindly to that and Silverado 1500 improvements are coming. The GMC Sierra 1500 will also receive these updates, which will supposedly include a brand new interior.
But according to Muscle Cars and Trucks, the diesel variants for both of GM's full-size pickups are rumored for another vital upgrade: towing. John Barta, assistant chief engineer of diesel engine controls at GM, told MC&T the main priority for these diesel offerings was top fuel economy, but that came at the expense of towing ratings.
The maximum tow rating for a half-ton Duramax truck is 9,300 pounds, though not for much longer possibly. "We're actually looking at upgrading some of the materials around (the engine bay) to see if we can maybe raise our tow rating," Barta admitted. "We do know that (95 percent) of our light duty customers don't tow over 9,000 pounds… There was a conscious decision to maybe not go after the towing but go after the fuel economy. We realized that our tow rating is hitting 95 percent of the customer we have."
If you recall, the Silverado 1500 Duramax 4x2 is rated at 23/33 mpg city/highway, while the Sierra 1500 Duramax offers 23/30 mpg. The difference is because the GMC is a bit heavier due to more features.
"We just launched the engine, but we're not standing still… we're trying to improve performance and still lower emissions. It's a delicate balance to do that," Barta said. For further comparison, the Ford F-150 Power Stroke has a 11,400-pound tow rating, but the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is rated at 12,500 pounds. With figures like those, GM has almost no choice but to upgrade.