Chevrolet Truck introduced its anticipated Class 4 and 5 Silverado cab-chassis models and surprised a trade press audience with a Class 6 version, all marking the re-entry of General Motors into the medium-duty truck segment it abandoned in 2009.
The 4500 HD, 5500 HD and 6500 HD, the result of a collaboration between GM and Navistar International, have gross vehicle weight ratings of 15,000, 19,500 and 22,900 pounds, respectively. They use Silverado Regular, Extended and Crew cabs with a 6.6-liter, 350-horsepower Duramax diesel and an Allison 1000 automatic transmission, said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet.
“Chevy’s designers and engineers were obsessed with making this Silverado the most customer-focused medium duty truck of any major competitor,” he said “By customer-focused, I mean work-ready trucks that are easy to upfit, easy to drive, easy to service and easy to own.”
The input of fleet managers, truck drivers, upfitters, technicians and Chevrolet dealers drove the development of the new Silverados.
“It’s not just numbers on a spec sheet that make us different and better,” said John Schwegman, director of Commercial Product and Medium Duty at GM Fleet. “These new Silverados are designed to solve the most common upfit and ownership challenges fleets have with many of today’s medium duty trucks.”
Seven Cab-to-Axle (CA) options ranging from 60 to 162 inches, along with five axle-to-back-of-frame (AF) lengths sized in 8-inch increments, he said. A lightweight, front-hinged tilting hood that, combined with a 50-degree wheel cut, allows easy walk-up access to under-hood components. The tight wheel cut also allows easy maneuverability.
Frames are Navistar’s contribution to the collaboration, and Navistar will build the trucks at its Springfield, Ohio plant starting late this year. In 2008, GM planned to sell its medium-duty products, which then claimed a 25 percent market share, to Navistar, which backed away from the deal. GM then discontinued the series.
Navistar’s version of the Class 4 and 5 trucks, to be called CV, for commercial vehicle, will be announced later this year and enter production with the Chevrolet models. The International CV models will use GM cabs and the Duramax-Allison powertrain.