building continues with the introduction of the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado
and GMC Sierra at this year's Chicago Auto Show.
of today's pickup trucks are what most buyers and the media tend to focus
and comment on. They may not be everything but they sure mean something.
Silverado and Sierra twins debuted in 1999, GM heard from many parts of
the automotive media that it had not gone as far stylistically as its
competition, the 1994 Dodge Ram and 1996 Ford F-150. It had also not done
enough to differentiate the two brands from each other. But GM did listen
closely in consumer clinics to previous generation C/K truck owners. These
owners wanted to maintain their pickup's square shouldered and subtle
looks. GM's reaction to these comments was to streamline and soften the
body lines for 1999 while still keeping alive the spirit and style of
the C/K. It was a wise choice judging by today's sales figures.
The two trucks
debuting in Chicago now differ from each other to a much greater degree.
the Silverado gets Chevrolet's new familial look, first seen in the all
new Avalanche and TrailBlazer SUV. As with those trucks, the Silverado's
front end treatment is extremely aggressive and angular. In fact, it's
quite a risky and bold departure from the much more conservatively styled
2002 pickup. The hood is brand new, as are its integrated headlights.
The grille is even larger than that of the Avalanche's but it doesn't
inherit the same exaggerated wheel arches or lower fascia. New body side
molding, six spoke wheels, additional exterior colors and new tailamps
round out next year's changes.
Will GM be
scolded again by the media, this time for going too far? Possibly, but
that isn't the point. Actually, that's by far the lesser risk. The real
question on everyone's mind is will this new look be eagerly adopted by
current Chevrolet truck owners and help pull new buyers into the fold?
GMC Sierra takes a different tack with its new appearance. Though some
might call it conservative, perhaps hedging the bold look of the Silverado,
it wears a strong, industrially styled grille sporting three bars that
appear to be finely milled from annodized steel. Below the grille, the
Sierra's prominent chin sports a new chrome bumper with optional larger
integrated fog lamps.
Silverado's new front end shouts to the world that brute force will be
applied to overcome any obstacle, the Sierra's precision machined appearance
is a further evolution towards moving the Sierra away from the Silverado
toward its own unique "Professional Grade" identity. It also
clearly shows the ongoing migration of DNA from GMC's critically well
received series of Terra concept trucks. Other exterior changes include
new side trim, new 16-inch six spoke wheels and additional paint colors.
these new exterior changes will not be carried over to GMC's high end
Sierra Denali pickup which retains its own distinctive look shared only
with the GMC Yukon Denali SUV.