General Motors and Isuzu are once again partnering to produce low cab forward chassis.

GM gears up for LCF models

Dec. 6, 2015
NTEA Truck Product Conference 2015 coverage

GENERAL Motors is gearing up to distribute low cab forward models in North America in 2016 as part of its partnership with Isuzu Motors.

The Isuzu-built trucks based off the N-Series will be available with GM branding and sold through the GM dealer network.

Chevrolet will offer six new models—the 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500, and 5500. The new trucks will be offered in regular-cab and crew-cab body styles. A General Motors sourced 6.0L V-8 gas engine and six-speed automatic transmission, or Isuzu-sourced 3.0L and 5.2L turbo-diesel engines will be available, depending on the model. The gas-powered models will be assembled in the United States in Charlotte, Michigan.

“This product is significant because neither Ford nor Ram have a low cab forward medium-duty truck,” said John Schwegman, director of commercial products.

To strengthen the product lineup, GM and Isuzu will explore the use of GM commercial vehicle components for Isuzu low cab forward trucks.  GM will continue to produce and supply the 6.0L V-8 gas engine and six-speed transmission for Isuzu gasoline-powered low cab forward trucks.

Isuzu and GM have maintained a strategic partnership for more than 40 years, producing collaborative business opportunities throughout the world. This agreement continues that tradition and reinforces a long-term relationship that helps to explore future collaborations in the US commercial vehicle business.

A pickup box removal program is in the works for the Chevrolet Colorado and GM Canyon.

Re-badging vehicles built by other often-rival automakers is not a new tactic for GM, as that’s the formula the OEM most recently used to bring its Chevrolet City Express van to market, based on the NV200 compact van chassis built by Nissan.

Along with the Isuzu-badged versions, the Chevrolet models will be the only low cab forward trucks in the North American market to offer a gas-powered powertrain, GM said. Additional features include: chassis lengths ranging from 109 inches to 212 inches; compatibility with a variety of body types, including refrigerated box, stake/flat bed and service bodies.

Production tentatively begins end of the second quarter in Japan.

Paul Loewer, a medium-duty manager for GM, detailed the LCF upfitter plans:

• All transportation will be provided by Isuzu.

• Includes ocean freight from Japan and ground transportation within US.

• Ship-throughs will be available.

• The majority of volume will likely be for box/body upfits.

• GM will invoice for cost of ship-through (from upfitter to final destination) at published prices.

• Upfitter will invoice for cost of upfit (negotiated between dealer/customer and upfitter).

• Drop-ships will be available as needed.

• SVM/bailment inventory is currently being reviewed.

• Demo programs, Business Choice eligibility, and other “marketing” initiatives will be announced in the future as needed to be competitive in the marketplace.

Dan Tigges, full-size truck product manager, detailed changes for the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup line, including revising the exterior shape of the vehicle along with expanded use of 8-speed automatic transmissions.

Box delete is planned for Colorado/Canyon models with the following configuration (2M53): 2WD extended cab only; Work Truck (WT) trim; 3.6L V-6 Engine (LFX); automatic transmission: CA 36.2”; locking differential (G80) and fuel filler for service bodies (BJA) are available; and 2200-pound payload.

It includes temporary lighting, rear bumper delete, spare and carrier, along with camera harness, but not the camera, and it requires heavy-duty trailering.

Joseph Langhauser, product manager of vans and mobility, said the key issues to focus on for vans are:

• Savana Express: allocation process is in place to help mitigate early order cutoff and keep vehicles orderable throughout the year; 2016MY allocation for bailment pools has been significantly increased over 2015MY; and 6.6 Duramax diesel production on the van ends at the end of 2016MY.

• City Express: no supply restrictions; no vehicle changes; and 2016MY starts January 4, 2016. ♦

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.