The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

2005 Chevrolet Silverado Takes Top Fleet Truck Honors

December 2004, by Cindy Brauer - Also by this author

In the category that represents the fleet industry’s workhorse vehicles, the full-size pickup, GM’s best-selling vehicle, offers one of the broadest model ranges available, with numerous configuration possibilities. Rugged dependability and versatility - qualities a workhorse needs to get the job done out in the field. For the fleet industry, that workhorse is the full-size pickup. This year, fleet professionals across the country chose the Chevrolet Silverado, GM’s best-selling vehicle, the 2005 “Fleet Truck of the Year,” citing its reliability and flexibility. Sponsored by Automotive Fleet and Business Fleet magazines, the Fleet Truck of the Year competition featured 15 domestic and imported 2005 pickup and van models. Qualified fleet buyers voted online via the magazines’ shared Web site,

“We are proud to receive the 2005 Truck of the Year award for the Chevrolet Silverado. The Silverado has an unequaled reputation for performance, capability, and dependability,” said Bill Gibson, director of fleet and commercial sales, GM Fleet & Commercial Operations. “This award is a wonderful validation of Silverado’s promise to our customers who rely on this vehicle for their professional livelihood as well as personal needs. That is an awesome statement on behalf of this truck.” Across-the-Spectrum Capability
The Silverado’s extensive range of 1500, 2500, and 3500 light-duty models, which now includes a gas-electric mild hybrid version, serves industries across the commercial and government spectrum. The pickup can be ordered in a wide variety of configurations: Regular, Extended, or Crew Cab body styles; standard 6.5-ft. or extended 8-ft.cargo boxes in either Fleetside or Sportside style; and 1500, 2500, or 3500 models in either two- or four-wheel drive. At DeBrau-Kuempel, a division of construction services company Emcor, a stable of 30 Silverados is used by service managers to support in-field technicians. The company’s 1/2-ton pickups are equipped with a toolbox mounted in the back, according to fleet facilities manager Joe Donahue. “The Silverados provide transportation for our service managers who, once in the field, may need their tools or to haul something,” said Donahue. Based in Cincinnati, the DeBra-Kuempel serves the tri-state region of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. “The Silverado is a good all-around truck,” Donahue commented. “They are inexpensive to run with low maintenance.” According to Lee Jezek, fleet analyst for Service Corporation International, based in Houston, the Silverado “holds up very well. It’s a good work truck. We’ve used them forever.” The company, which owns and operates funeral homes and cemeteries in North America, uses the Silverado in its 1,800-unit truck fleet. ‘Flex Powered’ for Fuel Economy
A mild hybrid Silverado introduced last year features GM’s “Flex Power” hybrid propulsion system, a fuel-saving technology that the automaker expects to provide 10-15 percent better fuel economy. Available on the 1500 Series Extended Cab Silverado, the Flex Power system replaces the conventional starter motor and alternative with a compact 14-kw electric motor or starter generator integrated between the engine and transmission. According to GM technicians, the starter generator provides fast, quiet starting power and allows automatic engine stops/starts to conserve fuel. In addition, the system smoothes driveline surges, generates electrical current to charge the batteries and run auxiliary power outlets, and provides coast-down regenerative braking. The Miami-Dade Government Services Administration in Florida received one of the first Silverado hybrids off the production line. Then-acting director of the fleet management division Olga Diaz noted that the county GSA had used hybrid sedans in the fleet for three years and decided to test the hybrid pickup. According to Diaz, fuel savings is a top priority for the county. Lawmakers there passed a resolution mandating 3- to 5- percent fuel savings a year for the next five years for every county department. “The county is looking forward to earning fuel economy savings of up to 12 percent a year on every hybrid pickup,” said Diaz, who predicted the county would order additional Silverados as the initial units demonstrate their fuel-efficiency. More Fuel Savings Choices
In addition to the hybrid, the Silverado can be ordered in several reduced-emissions or alternative fuel variations. Models equipped with the Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8 offer a dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) or bi-fuel system that can run on CNG or gasoline. Units with the Vortec 4300 4.3L V-6, and those sold in California with the Vortec 4800 4.8L or Vortec 5300 5.3L V-8, feature a robust catalytic converter that meets ultra low emission vehicle standards. According to GM, the 2005 Silverado’s already best-in-class fuel economy was enhanced with several improvements that can earn nearly one-mile-per-gallon fuel savings. The improvements include an all-electric cooling system and a new voltage control system that monitors the battery’s charge status and controls the vehicle’s generator to minimize parasitic voltage loss. Voters in the 2005 Fleet Truck of the Year poll were drawn from Automotive Fleet, Business Fleet, and Fleet Financials fleet audiences, which represent nearly 20 percent of all domestic car and truck sales.
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