Bob Lutz Talks Fuel Economy In GM's Trucks
By: Jim Mateja Posted: 08-29-08 07:54 PT
© 2008

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Bob Lutz is crowing about General Motors' current full-size truck fuel economy ratings, but coy about how the company intends to keep its lead.

The vice chairman and head of global product development for GM said GM's full-size Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra get the best truck mileage in the industry, at a recent media preview of the automaker's 2009 lineup. Its new XFE models get 15/21 mpg city/highway and two-mode hybrids get up to 21/22 mpg.

"GM is the industry's fuel mileage leader. The Nissan Titan is terrible and a guzzler, the Toyota Tundra is where Ford is in mileage," he said.

But there are no immediate plans to increase GM's mileage lead by adding a fuel efficient direct injection V-6 to its full-size lineup, similar to Ford's EcoBoost V-6, announced for the F-150 by 2010.

"We have nothing to announce today," said Lutz, when asked if GM has plans for a direct injection V-6 in the full-size Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

"But with the power we have from V-6s, like the 300-plus hp V-6 coming in the Camaro, there really is no reason why a modern V-6 wouldn't work in the full size pickups, though it would have to be in the light duty end. There's nothing firm, nothing to announce, but it's interesting and something we're taking a look at," said Lutz.

Today, GM offers a 4.3-liter V-6, rated at 15/20 mpg city/highway, as the standard engine for its two-wheel-drive regular and extended cab WT grade pickups. The 4.3-liter V-6 is based on a twenty year old design. Ford will only offer V-8 engines in the 2009 F-150 lineup.

Lutz was also asked about GM's plans for its mid-size pickups, in terms of new engines and/or boosting mileage.

"We have some exciting plans for the future but it's too early to talk about it," Lutz said.

Asked if GM's new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine, coming in 2011 for the small Chevrolet Cruze sedan, could work in its pickups, Lutz said that engine isn't compatible with trucks.

Lutz refused to elaborate further about future V-6s or four cylinder engines, but added that based on demand for higher mileage, the predominant engine in the future would be the four cylinder, though he wouldn't detail what role it would play in trucks.

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