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GM scraps plan for unibody pickup

Mon, 21 Sep 2009

General Motors Co. has dropped plans to develop a unibody pickup similar to the Honda Ridgeline, the automaker's top product development executive said.

As gasoline prices rose and pickup sales fell, GM sought an alternative to the standard body-on-frame pickup.

A mid-sized unibody pickup on GM's mid-sized, front-drive platform had been intended for buyers who do not need the hauling and towing capabilities of full-sized models. Honda's mid-sized Ridgeline is the only unibody pickup sold in the United States.

"We felt there would be a significant fuel economy improvement" from the mid-sized platform, said Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman of global product development. "But as we dived deeper into it, there wasn't that much additional fuel economy to be gained."

Also, GM research showed buyers would expect the sticker price of a less capable mid-sized pickup to be lower than that of a full-sized pickup.

"This architecture wasn't really offering a much lower price point," said Stephens, interviewed at a GM media event last week in suburban Detroit.

By Rick Kranz- Automotive News