GM’s work vehicles really begin with the light trucks, Colorado and Canyon from Chevy and GMC, which are available in regular, extended and crew cabs as well as different chassis cab models. Moving up to the full-size pickups are the Silverado and Sierra, available in half-ton, three-quarter-ton and 1-ton in all three cabs, as well as chassis cabs.
“We’re overhauling our heavy-duty lineup, which are our three-quarter- and 1-ton models, to give them more capability, more power and more fuel efficiency,” explains Dan Tigges, product manager for full-size trucks at GM. “To make them a more user-friendly vehicle there are a lot of improvements to the frames, suspension and chassis. They’re going to allow you to carry the heavy loads, but still have a very comfortable ride.”
The other major players in GM’s offerings are the full-size vans, the Savana and the Express, which are available as passenger vans, cargo vans and cutaways. The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana both have remote vehicle start, are E85 capable on 4.8-liter, 5.3-liter and 6.0-liter engines. The 2500 and 3500 models receive the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission and revised rear axles.
The Chrysler Group is offering five vehicle lines that fit the varying needs of the residential remodeling industry: Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van, Dodge Dakota, Ram 1500, Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty and Ram 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab.
The Dodge Grand Caravan offers commercial-tuned ride, heavy-duty load leveling suspension and Flex-fuel (E85) capable V-6 engine to offer maximum hauling capability, while technologies including Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Tire-pressure Monitoring (TPM) for added safety and peace of mind. Available technology features include SIRIUS satellite radio, hands-free Uconnect Phone and Uconnect Navigation with voice commands and real-time traffic monitoring.
The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty is available for the first time in a crew-size cab model — providing Ram with a formidable entry in the highest volume part of the heavy-duty pickup segment. These trucks are available with 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel which produces 350 hp at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque at only 1,500 rpm. The 6.7-liter meets the most stringent of 50-state emission requirements and includes a segment-exclusive standard exhaust brake. The standard 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 delivers 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm and features variable-valve timing for greater efficiency and performance. The ride of these vehicles has been greatly improved over previous generations with retuned suspension components.
What to Look for
Certainly value and more importantly fuel economy is at the top of the list of things that remodelers should be considering when looking for a vehicle. Commercial users also want a vehicle that has been proven reliable, with capable towing and payload capabilities, but it’s also going to be a vehicle that can be operated every single day. Riding and handling fit right into that, as do the little things like step-in height and the height to load things into the back of the pickup. Sometimes people don’t think of those things when they first buy a vehicle, but they have an impact when used every day.
“Remodelers should really be looking for good value,” says Tigges. “The vehicle is a tool, and it’s important to look at the life-cycle cost. What is it going to cost to buy? What is it going to cost to operate? What is the resale value? Overall it’s important to look at the big picture and find a good value for a good tool.”