Friday 5 July 2013

GM diesel pick-up trucks set to appear?

Reports are filtering through that General Motors has a new ‘kid on the block’ in the form of a new generation of diesel powered pick-up trucks.

According to Auto Guide, The General has been dropping hints concerning a new generation of diesel pick-up trucks for some time, and an engineer from Chevrolet has now confirmed to AutoGuide that a diesel will arrive in a non-heavy duty pickup truck in the near future. 

If true, that suggests the brand’s half-ton Silverado could receive the new diesel, or it could fall to the smaller Colorado, which is set to return to the North American market in 2014 as a 2015 model-year vehicle.

The question is: which oil-burner will The General use? Will it be the 3-litre VM Motori power unit already in use by Chrysler for its latest Ram pick-up trucks. Or will it be The General’s own 4.5-litre engine that has been hovering in the background for some time, its development programme stalled by the financial crisis of some years back.

General Motors is a half-share owner of VM Motori with Fiat Group of Italy. VM Motori is based in Cento, Italy. So on the face of it a logical route for The General might be to source the engine from its own subsidiary. But that engine may not be powerful enough for North American applications, hence the need to launch its own vee diesel.

Either way it could see GM introduce a diesel engine with a compacted graphite iron (GCI) cylinder block. The move would not be surprising. The General must have felt ‘out in the cold’ having seen Ford introduce 6.7-litre V8 diesel engines with CGI blocks in it larger heavy duty F-Series trucks. Also, Ford was the first of the North American automakers to launch diesel engines with CGI blocks in Europe with its family of vee diesels.

So, considering that RAM is now offering a CGI diesel engine in the 1500, a diesel-powered Silverado is not out of the question. But, according to Autoguide, it seems that the Colorado is a more viable option for the engine, as it can be introduced from the start, and capitalise on a segment that offers no competition: small diesel-powered pickup trucks. The Chevrolet Colorado offers 2.5 and 2.8-litre diesel engines already in other parts of the world.                                                       


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