Today, General Motors has officially emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as General Motors Company, with the "old" GM re-named "Motors Liquidation Company which essentially consists of some of the old liabilities, including a Golf Course in New Jersey, among other things.
What remains are four core brands; Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac. It should be heartening to truck enthusiasts that despite all the fear and hand-wringing of a new car company actively managed by an administration that speaks prominently and frequently about global warming and CO2 reduction, that two of the remaining brands are strong in the truck sector.
Whether the greenies like it or not, trucks remain a major part of the overall vehicle sales in the U.S. GM's current full-size lineup is class-leading in fuel economy, and it's likely the company will try hard to retain that distinction, even with crosstown rival Ford vowing to build the most fuel-efficient vehicles in their respective classes.
Of course, the very definition of "truck" is changing before our eyes. Prior to the introduction of the Acadia crossover a few years ago, GMC didn't have a single unibody vehicle in its U.S. lineup. From the Canyon pickup to the Yukon XL, every single one of their models was a body-on-frame design. BOF is good for strength, and relatively cheap to build, but in most cases heavier than a comparable unibody. As we all know, weight is the enemy of fuel economy. Going into the 2010 model year, GMC has two unibody vehicles in its lineup, the Acadia and the new Terrain compact crossover.
Aside from vans, which have had unibody variants for several decades now, the unibody chassis is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to "trucks," but that may soon be changing. Many untility vehicles around the world are unibody, and many are significantly smaller than their American counterparts. There's a good chance in this new era of global automakers that we'll see some of these foreign-engineered contraptions hitting our roads. But I don't see the traditional full-size, body-on-frame pickup going anywhere anytime soon. Will things change on these trucks? Almost certainly. Will we see more hybrids, possibly plug-ins? For sure. So even though some of you may fear a future in which we're all running around in glorified golf carts, I don't see that day coming for quite a while. So take a deep breath, lower your tailgate, and pop open a can of Bud. The American truck is alive and well.