GM should be quite satisfied with two major underbody enhancements it has made to the Silverado and Sierra for 2003.
First, a brand new Class II electrical architecture is standard for 2003 and brings significant electronic and maintenance benefits to the full size trucks. Woychowski describes the new system as "able to multiplex signals down a single wire versus having multiple discrete copper wires." The architecture is able to support the sophisticated power management needs of the HVAC and infotainment systems, described earlier, while at the same time reducing the number of wires in the trucks. For example, the number of wires in the doors has been reduced from 40 in 2002 down to 16 in 2003. Less wires means less maintenance vulnerabilities over the life of the truck and a lower cost of ownership.
Quadrasteer is the second major underbody enhancement, available on both Silverado and Sierra 1500 extended cab and 1500HD crew cab pickups, though it first debuted exclusively on the 2002 Sierra Denali. It effectively reduces the turning radius of an extended cab full size pickup to just larger than that of a Saturn two door coupe, Quadrasteer independently turns the front and rear wheels in the same or opposite directions depending on the speed and driving situation of the truck.
"The acceptance rate of Quadrasteer is as high as any other technology GM has ever introduced", according to White. "With this technology GM has a two year head start over the competition." The only cost associated with system, aside with the $1500+ price, is that Quadrasteer currently forces an increase in the rear width of the truck but, according to White, "sometime in the future there will be no width penalty."
With all of the new enhancements to the Silverado and Sierra it might be possible to forget that these aren't totally new trucks. But GM is smartly leveraging the assets and factory tooling already in place to make these modifications for 2003 at less than 10% of the cost it took to get the T800 pickups to market in the first place. This is the type of action the Big Three might have avoided in the past, instead choosing to count their sales figures until the next brand new truck was released. Those days are a thing of the past. In this rapidly changing market, enhancements like this are going to become business as usual.
Silverado and GMC Sierra production begins in the third quarter of 2002.