Trux' Continued, Page 2
may build a big truck, too...
Taking a look at
the German automakers, design expert Mark Stehrenberger believes there
will be a Mercedes pickup, based on the upcoming 2001 Dodge Ram, and offer
it for sale in the U.S., Africa, South America and Asia.
But according to
analyst Hall, it's not yet certain what kind of full-size truck program
the German automaker will initiate. "I don't think a Mercedes pickup has
been given full approval. But that could change, depending on market conditions.
I think for now, Mercedes will be content to let Dodge carry the load.
As you know, the North American market is the only one that's really receptive
to full-size pickups," says Hall.
"If a Mercedes pick-up does get the greenlight, expect
Volkswagen to be close behind"
If a Mercedes pickup
does get the green light, Hall believes Volkswagen will be close behind.
"Basically, VW is
trying to establish itself as a credible rival to Mercedes," observes
Hall. "So whatever Mercedes does, they're going to try and go Mercedes
one better. While the idea of a luxury pickup was presented to VW's management
team, I've seen no movement in that direction yet, even through their
SUV is on track for production next year. Volkswagen if fairly straightforward
about these things. If there is sound logic for building it, they probably
will. If not, they won't.
Hall says if VW does
build a full-size truck, similar to the AAC they displayed during January
at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it could be
on sale here as early as 2003.
However, it's unlikely
to come equipped with the 313-horsepower V-10 turbodiesel that powered
the concept truck.
So what are the domestics
doing to counter this potential onslaught? Plenty it would seem, as both
Lincoln and Cadillac have plans to become more deeply involved in the
light truck market. Dodge could also shift very quickly into luxury mode,
should it decide to build the upscale MAXXcab concept truck, currently
touring the auto show circuit.
full-size pickup (codenamed GMT806), will be based on the same Suburban
chassis and mechanicals as the upcoming Chevrolet Avalanche, but will
have the distinctive styling of the Evoq Roadster, which will soon be
rolling of the same assembly line as the Chevrolet Corvette.
Like the Evoq, the
as-yet-unnamed Cadillac pickup will feature sharp edges and flat surfaces.
It will come with four full-size doors, and feature GM's innovative "mid-gate"
that will allow the partition between the cab and truck box to be opened
when the rear seats are folded forward - expanding the box from six, to
eight feet in length.
The new vehicle,
slated for production at GM's Arlington, TX assembly plant, will arrive
in the summer of 2001 as a 2002 model, and come equipped with an upgraded
version of GMs' Gen III 6.0-liter pushrod V-8 engine, with alloy cylinder
heads. It's slated to deliver between 300 and 350 horsepower.
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