Ah, fleet sales. If you’re not making bread and butter money from selling millions of hatchbacks in a week, then the real gravy is in commercial sales. Taxis, delivery trucks, cop cars, city motor pool cars, stuff like that. Cars and trucks that are rode hard, put away wet, have the oil changed twice a week, the engines replaced twice a year, and three to five years from the date of purchase, they’re all used up.
Chevy, who already makes serious bank from fleet sales, announced they will now offer an entirely new Duramax diesel medium duty truck for fleet sales. Chevrolet made the announcement at this year’s edition of The Work Truck Show, which is kind of amusing – of course, there has to be a Work Truck Show. I wonder if they have an entire aisle dedicated to one-size-fits-all mesh-back baseball hats?
Chevy went on to say the new truck is on schedule and will launch in 2018. It is being jointly developed by Chevrolet and Navistar.
“Our new Chevrolet medium duty will be the flagship of our truck portfolio for fleet and commercial customers,” said John Schwegman, U.S. Director of Commercial Product and Medium Duty for GM Fleet.
GM says they have the industry’s most expansive portfolio of diesel-powered passenger cars, crossovers, pickups, and vans. Who am I to argue, but it also seems to me that Mercedes-Benz makes a ton of diesel powered delivery trucks too. Anyway, the General makes a lot of these guys, but it seems like there’s a niche that’s missing, so GM confirmed that Chevrolet’s all-new Class 4/5 commercial truck will soon be rolling out, and that it will be powered by a Duramax engine. Also, to sweeten the deal, the Duramax will be mated to an Allison transmission, a combo that is already found in close to two million trucks.
“We believe the strength of the Duramax/Allison powertrain combination will be able to tackle various jobs – from general contracting to urban delivery to bucket loaders and wreckers,” Schwegman said.
The first Duramax engines for Chevrolet and GMC trucks hit the market in 2001, and today, have more than 100 billion miles of use in the real-world. A new version of the Duramax arrived late last year for GM’s HD trucks.
“To win customers, we’re marshaling the best diesel and heavy-duty transmission engineers in the world and offering more choices than any other manufacturer,” Schwegman added.
Based in Indianapolis, the cynosure of the racing world, Allison Transmission is the largest designer, developer, manufacturer, and distributor of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions. They are also a leader in hybrid-propulsion systems. Allison designs are ubiquitous, being used in vehicles across the board: garbage trucks, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motor homes, defense, and energy; these transmissions are everywhere.
Allison has worked with Chevrolet since the 1950s, and before that, did things like build engines for P-51 Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings during wartime.
I actually got a chance to see inside their old plant in Speedway, Indiana years ago. It’s a fantastically cool Art Moderne style place made out of native brick and glass block, the same kind of bricks they paved The Speedway with. At the time, Riley and Scott, the prototype racers, were based out of the place, and I thought that was about as cool of a set up as you could get: You’re making race cars in the building they used to make fighter plane engines in, and the place looks like a giant brick and glass toaster designed by Norman Bel Geddes. Sign me up!
The technical specs for Chevy’s new medium duty truck, including cab and frame dimensions, horsepower and torque, GAWR (gross axle weight rating), GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), payload and other ratings, will be released closer to launch.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.