And they won't be cheap.
Nowhere else in the world is there a pickup truck battle like the one in America. Along with Detroit's Big Three, Toyota, Nissan and Honda are anxious to grab a piece of this hot and very lucrative market. But to be successful requires innovation as well as the right packaging. According to The Wall Street Journal, General Motors is developing carbon fiber beds for its premium trim pickup trucks. Adding lightweight beds, which could get underway in just two years when the next generation Chevrolet and GMC trucks are due, will be beneficial in several ways.
First off, carbon fiber is lightweight, and pickup trucks, especially full-size trucks, need to shed as much weight as possible these days. Ford, for example, switched to an all-aluminum body for its latest F-150. But carbon fiber is often viewed differently than lightweight aluminum. It's the material of choice normally reserved for supercars and hypercars. The fact that it'll be utilized in trucks is new ground, and GM is wise to go this route. How come? Because pickup trucks comprise of about 15 percent of the US car market, meaning demand is high and buyers have proven they're willing to pay up for fully-loaded pickup trucks.
Case in point: the recently unveiled $100,000 Ford F-450 Super Duty. GM currently sells around 800,000 full-size trucks annually, and offering the optional carbon fiber will make the automaker the biggest user of the lightweight material among automakers. Even the manufacturing process is expensive and more difficult than simply stamping metal. But GM is willing to make the investment likely because it's one more way it can stand out in the segment.