• Jun 8, 2009
Chevy Kodiak and GMC Topkick – Click above for high-res gallery

For the past four years, General Motors has been trying to sell its medium duty truck business, which produces the giant Chevy Kodiak and GMC Topkick. Navistar, Isuzu and other unnamed suitors were all at one point in discussions with GM to make a deal, but none ever happened and today the automaker announced that it would will "wind down" production of the Kodiak and Topkick and cease production altogether on July 31st.

In addition to the consumer-oriented models from Chevy and GMC, the medium duty truck operations also produced the commercial grade C4500, C5500 and C6500 models. Halfway between a full-ton pickup and an actual semi, these mammoth haulers were best suited for just that: towing. Chances are if you ever saw one on the road, there was a trailer behind it.

The Topkick also earned acclaim for its acting prowess in the Transformers film franchise playing the Autobots' weapons specialist, Ironhide. Unfortunately, success on celluloid didn't transfer to sales on the street, and it looks like Ironhide may be taking his last curtain call in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.



[Source: GM]

GM Statement Regarding Wind Down of Medium Duty Truck Production

After four years of working with multiple potential buyers, General Motors has decided to wind-down its medium-duty truck operations. Production of the Chevy Kodiak and GMC Topkick medium duty trucks will cease by July 31, 2009.


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  • 46 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good riddance, every topkick I've driven has got 4-6 mpg, 50% less than any other brands.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only place I've seen these trucks in use is as snowplows.
      By the way, is this truck line platform in any way related to the GMT900?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The arrogance and stubborness of GM has led to its demise.......they deserve everything they get......
      • 5 Years Ago
      Showing the picture of the pickup truck conversion (done by Monroe Truck Equipment) really isn't fair to the Kodiak/Top Kick line, since the vast majority of these (standard cabs) are used as bobtails (box trucks). If you've ever rented a 20' or larger truck from somebody like Ryder or Penske, to help a friend move, it was likely a Kodiak or Top Kick.

      Dream Car Garage did a segment on the MTE pickup a couple of years ago, and bone-jarring doesn't begin to describe how it rode. The driver gets an air-ride seat (which helps some), but the passengers are out of luck.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Most of the larger Penske/Ryder trucks happen to be Freightliners and/or Internationals. GM was beat out of this segment long ago by the true truck manufacturers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Shadooky, not all true.

        Many of the 18 to 24 foot T1Ws (Truck, 1 way) that Penske has in it's fleet are Topkicks. The advantage is that they are gas powered and do not require CDLs to drive like most all of the Freightliner FL50 and FL70 trucks.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @ mroverlord, if the truck is powered by gas or diesel it has nothing to do with a CDL driver’s license. If the GVW of the truck is 26,001 and over, you have to have a CDL to drive it. There are plenty of diesel trucks in the 18,000 to 26,000 that are diesel. I am not sure why Penske is stuck using gas on their one way rentals. Budget and U-haul have used Diesels for years. My question is, if GM is getting rid of the GMC medium duty line of trucks, why keep GMC at all? The GMC's were way better than the pos Navistars, had a better cab and ride than the Sterling(Ford), and the Cat and Durmax engines were solid. Sucks to see them go.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly. Very few of these trucks were built as shown in the picture. The vast majority were built as medium-duty box trucks or dump trucks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      OK, so why keep GMC now? That's just what the GM needs; another division selling badge engineered clones. Haven't they learned? Ditch it and swap it for Pontiac.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe if they had made the trucks look more like beefed up pickups like the Ford 450 and 550 Super Duty's they would have sold more of them. There are no shortage of people needing those as I see plenty of the Super Duty Fords around here, Dodges also. Face it the GM trucks in that range are as ugly as the Freightshakers and Internationals. Too bad too as the Duramax diesel with the Allison transmissions is a fantastic drivetrain. They just cant seem to get it, I suppose they still own Saab but doing away with light commercial division and Pontiac. Its almost like they are sabotaging themselves on purpose.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does that mean that only 4500, 5500, and 6500 vehicles will be made by Ford and Dodge? Or are there other makers(Mack, Kenworth, etc.) of these?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I saw one of these (double) parked next to an H2 once. When the H2's owner walked out from Wawa and saw that, for once, his mammoth SUV wasn't the biggest monstrosity in the lot, his jaw dropped, and he got into his car quickly and quietly left.

      I figured that was why GM made these trucks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wawa hoagies FTW!

        Anyone ever get that huge one (two feet of goodness) that comes in a Suitcase?

        Wawa is freaking awesome!
        • 5 Years Ago
        off the subject... WAWA is awesome! Thanks for making me homesick now. (Live in CT, born and raised in PA)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Heh, i didn't even notice you mentioned Wawa. As far as i am concerned, Wawa is synonymous with convenience store.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've seen a couple of these before--pulling these long cattles trailers. Is GM going to eventually phase out the pickup per obama's orders? Where I live, in a very rural farm community, people drive more pickups and duallys than people drive cars. Farmers need their trucks, ALL sizes, for hauling cattle, horses, crops, etc. Obama is stupid if he thinks a person can haul cattle with a prius. He is a joke. He doesn't have the SLIGHTEST clue what the heck he's doing to the auto industry, or it he does, he doesn't care one bit. He's got HIS big Caddy limo to ride around in. To HECK with the rest of us. We can suffer for all he care.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Okay, so what will all the people who think they know what they're talking about claim GMC does that Chevy doesn't now that both brand's medium duty trucks are going away?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tourian,

        Chevy offers the Kodiak just like GMC offers the Topkick. Both are ending production.

        Also, GMCs go at higher average transaction prices, and GM is concerned that the 400-500k annual GMC customers won't go to Chevy if they can the brand. It's called incremental sales, and it's how GM outsells Ford every year in full-size pickups, even though GM offers only one platform for two brands and two "duties", while Ford offers two for one brand.

        It's not that GMC does anything that Chevy doesn't. It's that GMC is popular, profitable, and still has a high enough public perception to command higher average transaction prices.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All those guys who feel inadequate in their shorts, what are they gonna draaahve? Volvo semi-trailer tractors? Wussies! Aside from that, GM screwed up the sale of the division by expecting and demanding too much. Now they have to trash it. Bright executives at GM.
        Andrew
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, that's it, here's the intelligent answer, "everyone who drives a big truck is making up for something in there pants" he he he giggle giggle, I'm so funny I just invented that, detect the sarcasm yet?? Yo Yon, get a clue, most people actually use these for what they are made for, work. You see many attachments to it, dump boxes, wrecker units, flatbeds, campers, snow plows, etc. These people actually use them for work, a job, not a toy. Few people have these as toys I'd say. The reason they're probably scrapping it is due to the economy falling out from many trade jobs, construction, landscaping, contactors, etc that actually used these for what they are and RV fits that many cannot afford now. That's why they are failing in this market more than anything as far as these trucks go. It was obviously a big market a few years ago because Dodge descided to get into the market again after being out of it for decades to try and get a piece of the pie Ford and GM already had. They were praised just a couple years ago for coming out with the Medium duty trucks. Now the market has fallen out from under them all on these trucks. Who knew, we're not talking decades of bad sales, we're talking a couple years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Consumer oriented versions of this truck are ridiculous. This is a commercial truck. Eliminating it is eliminating one more source of income for GM. It's like a surgeon went in for cancer and is just hacking away at vital organs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am thinking that now that Obama passed that stimulus and government will be fixing roads and bridges and such, the demand should increase for some vehicles in the group.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think this article greatly distorts the medium-duty truck segment. Chances are not that you would see one of these trucks pulling a trailer, chances are that you will see one with a freight body, fuel tank, or flat deck on it. I cannot remember the last time I saw a Kodiak or a Topkick with a pickup box on it. There is great demand for medium duty trucks, there was just a heck of a lot of competition in this segment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM was selling this business and nobody was interested in it because it wasn't viable. Just not much demand for these vehicles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A contractor drove on on-site for a few days. They are massive. More of a definite climb to enter & exit, but huge on the inside. You can't really see cars riding next to you as well as a lower-riding vehicle.

        The guy had a PS2 and rear LCD screens installed. He liked it, but the costs to fill those huge drum-sized tanks was ridiculous (hundreds of dollars to fill one). He didn't tow very often, so I can image that he parked or sold his when gas prices hit $3-$4.
        • 5 Years Ago
        People with race cars bought these to tow 5th wheel trailers with. I see them all over at NHRA divisional races.
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