GMC had to used some unconventional testing methods for the new Sierra CarbonPro.
Last week, GMC announced the new Sierra 1500 CarbonPro, which adds a carbon fiber bed to the popular pickup. Yes, even pickup trucks are now being fitted with the lightweight material usually reserved for high-end supercars. We caught up with Rich Latek, Director of Marketing at GMC, and Phil Brook, Vice President of Marketing to find out more about the benefits of using carbon fiber beds and the company’s unconventional testing methods.
"It reduces mass - it’s 62 pounds lighter, so you get a better payload and better fuel economy,” Latek explained. "With the mouldability of carbon fiber, we can also add an extra cubic foot of capacity. It’s an industry first. It’s also scratch, dent and corrosion resistant.” Furthermore, it also eliminates the need for a spray-in bedliner, wheelhouse liners, and even paint.
To test the strength of the material, GMC’s engineers put the CarbonPro bed through some serious punishment. "A couple of weeks ago, we had an engineer attack it with a metal baseball bat, and he bent the bat. You can’t even tell the bed has been touched,” Brook revealed to us.
"We’ve had to reinvent the testing we do on it because we used to drop cinder blocks into a bed. They were bouncing out and it became dangerous for the guys doing the testing.” Laytech added that the carbon fiber bed was also subjected to heat testing, had 55-gallon drums filled with water dropped onto it, and even had a snowmobile do a burnout on it. Yes, really.
We can’t help but be reminded of the indestructible Toyota Hilux in Top Gear that was burned, drowned, and buried by a falling building, and yet it somehow still worked. Just think of the potential advertising campaigns GMC could make out of this.