Tuesday, January 24, 2006

GMT 900, a 70% bet

As Americans we love cars, and as Americans bigger is better right? So it was no supprize that durring the mid to late 1990's SUV's took over the market. Ford and General Motors enjoyed huge sales and the looming UAW contracts seemed not to be a problem. Like all good things, this was to come to an end very soon, and in 2001 America suffered a lot. Even now, almost five years later, gas prices are still high and buyers are once again going toward more affordable family cars and away from the gas gussling trucks. This is bad news for GM and Ford who now have 70% or more of their total sales from their turck based paltforms. Ford has totally redisigned the F-150 the best selling truck of all time, but has yet to redsign the rest of its truck fleet. GM on the other hand is not as stupid as it looks, and started to redesign from the ground up its next generation of trucks. called the GMT (General Motors Truck) 900 (as in ninth generation) this is by far one of the best built trucks out on the market.

GM was facing a small problem... keep selling cars at below cost prices just to move the old iron and keep sales figures high in order to look good, or stay in busness. They solved the problem by putting more but not quite all of their eggs in one basket and move up the production of the next generation of full sized trucks from the end of '07 as '08 modles to the begining of '06 as '07 models. This is not the frist time for next years model to be produced this year... back in 1983 Chevy began reproducing the Corvette as a 1984 model. the result was a sales number that is totally unreal because one model year accouns for two years woth of sales. the reason the GMT 900 is not being produced as an '06 model is becuse of the legal mumbo-jumbo that sets the cutoff dates for new model year runs.

What trucks are effected are the Chevy's Tahoe, Suburban, and sooner or later the Silveradro line of pickup trucks; GMC's Yukon in all of its varents, and sooner or later the Sierra pickup truck; the Cadilac Escalade, and Escalade ESV. Thats over 9 different trucks not including the pickup's that may or may not come down the line, right now you can buy the Chevy Tahoe and the rest are soon to come. If you cannot stand just how awesome this new truck platform is you can still buy the old GMT 800 trucks, but you've got to be brain dead to do that.

This new platform is a new design from the ground up. the V8 engines all have Displacement On Demand, which cuts off four cylinders when they are not needed (mostly at highway speeds) and brings them online for a huge kick in power. the EPA says these trucks should get about 22 mpg but mixed use driving should make that a little higher, althought it will not be enought to make a HUGE difference.

What will make a HUGE difference is the new Interior! As you can see in the pictures, it is TOTALLY different; this will the the make it or break it deal for buyers, most importantly the return or repeat buyer. The gaps are tighter, the material is nicer, the seats are firmer, the wood, although obiously fake, is not a bad recreation. the radio is one of the new AC/Delco units that can be found in almost every new GM model, and best of all in the navi system. This navagition system has a nice sized screen with back-up camrias mounted in te rear bumper. Still it's nice to see a full sized Chevy/GMC truck with good flux wood and just the right amount of crome and not acres of plastic across the dashboard.

Althogh seating for 7 is there, like always, it is a little too cramped in the last row of seats. Also this truck makes you take out the rear bench if you want to use the space back there for cargo. Thats really not such a bad thing so long as you dont need to all of a sudden use that row of seats you left in your garage. And GM makes it an easy task and the seats althogh heavy, are not over cumbersum.

If hauling stuff like campers or big boats is more your thing, and dont want a pick up becuase you want to bring a few friends, the GMT-900 stacks up well. Edmunds.com quotes the cargo capacity at 109 cu. ft. , the pay-load capacity at 1473, and the most important number of all the towing capacity at 7700 pounds. Ford does a little better here, with 111, 1629, and 8600 respectivly. Still not bad concidering GM was looking only to imporve the look and feel of the their full sized turck, and not the long proven capacity.

If your only going to be going to sccocer games and pasta parties, will like the larger interior with 41.1in of frot headroom and 40 in the rear this truck can haul the NBA with confort with the rest of the numbers in order, I think just about anybody can ride just fine.

Front Headroom 41.1 in.

Rear Headroom 39.2 in.

Front Shoulder Room 65.3 in.

Rear Shoulder Room 65.2 in.

Front Hip Room 64.4 in.

Rear Hip Room 60.6 in.

Front Leg Room 41.3 in.

Rear Leg Room 39 in.

Maximum Luggage Capacity 16.9 cu.ft.

All in all the best that GM can hope for is not a leading sales figure, but a strong sales figure... The day of the SUV is over, and it's never coming back GM and Ford need to admit this and move on with their lives. It's not a bad thing, just a new (or rather old) way of looking at auto sales. Now if only they can do this with the Impala...


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