Car, Truck? Will GM Ever decide?

March 21, 2008
The Pontiac G8 sports truck General Motors put on display for the New York International Auto Show was clearly about more than glitz and showmanship. Mark LaNeve, GM vice president for sales, service, and marketing, says there is clearly a space in the market for a "body integral" (read that: car-based, Honda Ridgeline-type) pick-up truck.

There are a number of truck buyers, such as gardeners and landscapers, who don't really need a full-sized truck. But want some of the utility as well as the better fuel-economy that comes with the lightweight, unibody-type vehicle, LaNeve said. Consequently, GM is seriously looking at whether to expand the development of "body integral" trucks for its future product portfolio. "It doesn't have to cost $40,000 like the (Honda) Ridgeline does," said LaNeve. But a small, body-integral-style truck in the "$15,000 to $20,000 price range does make sense," he said. GM officials have every intention of turning the G8 sports truck into a production vehicle. The 2010 Pontiac G8 sport truck, however, will very likely carry a significantly higher price tag than the one mentioned by LaNeve, suggesting other platforms could be used for the body-integral type trucks down the road.

The concept-vehicle shown in New York was based on the rear-wheel-drive Pontiac G8 performance sedan but it had a longer wheelbase and a cargo bed, which makes it suitable for either work or recreation. It blurs the line between cars and trucks since it blends the sporty handling of a performance coupe with the cargo capabilities of a light truck, GM officials said. "The G8 sport truck significantly stretches Pontiac’s commitment to style and performance and is expected to arrive in dealers’ showrooms in late 2009," according to GM's official show announcement.—Joseph Szczesny

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