General Motors has a couple of problems to deal with: a glut of pickups on dealer lots and the inability to claim best-in-class fuel economy for its usually strong-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup. In light of the situation, GM's marketing message has transmuted into something else: "hey, at least they're cheap to own."

Recent Chevrolet TV commercials have been sending the message that the Silverado offers the lowest total cost of ownership for full-sized pickup trucks, citing a 2012 Vincentric study that ranked the cost of ownership for 2,400 US model configurations. Vincentric analyzes average transaction price, maintenance costs, depreciation and other factors.

The nationwide cost of ownership campaign was just started, GM North America President Mark Reuss said in an interview. "Inside of that is maintenance and real-world fuel economy," he said.

Real-world fuel economy is not the same as best-in-class fuel economy. GM has been watching its rivals boast about fuel economy achievements including the re-engineered 2013 Ram 1500 pickup getting best-in-class 25 mpg on the highway. Ford has been singing accolades about its F-150 offering both high towing capability and low fuel efficiency powered by the truck's EcoBoost V-6 engine.

For the automakers, making fuel economy improvements to trucks and large sedans plays a significant role in meeting federal mpg standards, especially if they're selling a lot of them. While upgrading high-mileage car like the Toyota Prius to 60 mpg from 50 won't matter too much in a driver's annual fuel bill, increasing a pickup truck with mileage in the low 20s by two or three mpgs per year can make a real difference.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Day Ago
      Like everyone else. when I first read this article, I thought what a ridiculous comparison ! But on reflection how many Silverado type vehicle owners ever use the capacity of their vehicles ? Towing ?Nope, any vehicle with a powerful engine can tow. Carrying capacity ? Nope, the vehicles have very limited carrying capacity in comparison to the size of the vehicles. All terrain ? Nope,relatively few of these vehicles are either equipped or likely to be driven as all terrain vehicles. Vehicles like these are largely purchased as fashion statements. Hopefully, the fashion maybe changing.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Marcopolo
        If that's so, then BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar might be then beneficiaries. Those trucks start cheap - but those are generally the stripped fleet vehicles. MSRP for the popular ones start around $30K, and can easily hit $40K with options. Then, if you get into the serious diesel trucks (for hauling in particular) you're in for at least $50K. Not withstanding all the accessories that will undoubtedly be added: lift kit, lights, new wheels, engine mods - maybe another 5-10K on top of it all. It's amazing how much money people spend on their trucks. Though, I do have a question for you, MarcoPolo. I respect your opinion, and I'm looking at purchasing a 31-foot Contender. What non-truck would you recommend for towing it? Not this specific boat, but one just like it: http://marinesource.com/boats-for-sale/2003-31-Contender-31-OPEN-CENTER-CONSOLE-Tangipahoa-Parish-LA-100615592.html
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Day Ago
      You need a new group of friends. The guys I know who have full-size trucks all use them on a regular basis - towing boats, carrying large loads in the bed, and going off-road for hunting/fishing/camping. Most of them have smaller cars they use for going to their day jobs, too.
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Day Ago
      Most "guys" don't use their trucks except to drive to work. The legitimate market for trucks is much smaller than the number actually sold. I know many soft handed lady-like guys who drive trucks as commuters. They have never done a hard days work in their lives. The problem that GM and others had was that guys that drive trucks couldn't afford new trucks because they spent their money on gas.
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      Dan's Angry Wrath of God Review :( not aero(!) :( not cheap :( not electric :( not light weight :| performance And a special bonus :( - brags about not being efficient 5 Angry Dans and only 1 straight faced Dan Climbing to the top of Mt. Ararat, preparing for the apocalypse, complaining the entire way that it didnt come sooner.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Day Ago
      I'll show you a cheap to own car. *points to the 1.6L and 2.0L manual transmissioned cars in his driveway*
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Apples and oranges. If you're in the market for a full-size truck, a compact car isn't even on your radar.
      Rob J
      • 1 Day Ago
      The mining company I worked for used GM/Chevy for this exact reason. The vehicles only lasted about 5 years (7 or 8 was the MAX) before you had issues and they replaced them due to frame stress from ALWAYS being driven off road. To them, a cheap truck (which was also cheap to repair) was more important than a fuel efficient truck.
      Rotation
      • 1 Day Ago
      This seems wise to me. Yes, Ford has EcoBoost, but the Chevy SFE V8 matches it on highway mileage at 22 and gets 1 less mpg (6% worse) in the city at 15 instead of 16. This gives them the same combined score (rounding is really annoying at these low mpg numbers) of 18. You're talking about maybe (assuming you drive all city) a fuel cost per year increase of $180. Meanwhile Ford charges $1095 for their EcoBoost engine. So how long is it going to take to get that money back based upon a savings of between $0 and $180 per year? You have to realize how cost-sensitive the pickup truck market is. Total cost of ownership is huge when you run a large fleet and have to justify your purchases and other expenses to your boss. The RAM does present a challenge to both Ford and Chevy with their new significantly higher highway mpg. You might even call that a game changer. But the game doesn't usually change in Chrysler's favor for long, Ford and Chevy are fierce competitors. I only hope buyers aren't so hung up on having a V8 that they fail to consider RAM's higher MPG option.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Day Ago
      It depends on where you live. Out in the country, many truck owners have plenty of chances to use them. The problem is, in the suburbs or city... there are still A LOT of truck owners. And they don't do a damn thing with them. They have no boat or trailer, and have never seen an unpaved road. Advertising and Marketing tactics DO WORK (otherwise automakers wouldn't spend so much on them)... and they convince people that owning a truck is a manly thing to do, even when not needed.
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      Low fuel efficiency..., Honestly Jon, you only had one job...
      BF4ALTF
      • 1 Day Ago
      I don't buy trucks and rarely read anything about truck, but this one is just ugly. Maybe it's the color or the square wheel wells. I do like the misprint about the F-150 offering both high towing capacity and low fuel efficiency, like both are selling points. Probably intentional.
      atc98092
      • 1 Day Ago
      "...offering both high towing capability and low fuel efficiency..." I think you mean either high fuel efficiency or low fuel consumption.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Day Ago
      Allright allright.. *points to longbed 2.4L Nissan hardbody in neighbor's garage* Closer? :)
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