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Chevrolet Re-Enters Low-Cab Forward Market

June 15, 2015, by Mike Antich - Also by this author

Photo cabover family courtesy of GM.
Photo cabover family courtesy of GM.

Chevrolet will offer low-cab forward medium-duty trucks in the U.S. in calendar-year 2016, the automaker announced at its dealer meeting in Las Vegas on June 15, returning the brand to a growing segment of the commercial vehicle market and expanding choices for fleet and commercial truck customers.

The six new models — Chevrolet 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500, and 5500HD — are based on the Isuzu N-Series, which General Motors will procure from Isuzu and distribute through Chevrolet dealers.

The six new models will be branded as Chevrolet Low Cab Forward. According to John Schwegman, director of commercial products for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations, the Low Cab Forward models will fill a product hole in the GM lineup in the Class 3-5 truck segments.

The new trucks will be offered in regular-cab and crew-cab body styles. A General Motors’ sourced 6.0L V-8 gasoline engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, or Isuzu-sourced 3.0L and 5.2L turbodiesel engines, will be available, depending on the model. The gasoline-powered models will be assembled from complete knock down (CKD) kits in the U.S. at the Spartan Motors assembly plant in Charlotte, Mich.

Photo of Chevrolet 4500 cabover courtesy of GM.
Photo of Chevrolet 4500 cabover courtesy of GM.

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 gasoline-powered powertrain. Additional features include:

  • Excellent visibility and maneuverability — especially in urban environments.
  • Easy driver entry and exit.
  • 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.
  • Easy-access engine compartment with 45-degree tilting cab.

Additional features and specifications will be available closer to the start of production.

“Bringing low-cab forward trucks back to our portfolio strengthens Chevrolet’s commitment to providing commercial customers with more choices and provides customers with a versatile lineup of trucks, vans, and crossovers,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president of GM Fleet and Commercial Sales. “This addition helps our dealers satisfy their commercial customers’ needs all in one place.”

In addition to the new Low-Cab Forward trucks, Chevrolet’s fleet and commercial choices include the full-size Silverado lineup, the Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD full-size chassis cab models, and the mid-size Colorado, which offers a box-delete and seat-delete option, as well as the City Express small van and Express range of full-size vans.

Photo of Chevrolet 4500 cabover courtesy of GM.
Photo of Chevrolet 4500 cabover courtesy of GM.

According to Peper, key vocational markets being targeted by Chevrolet for the new Low Cab Forward models include refrigerated food delivery, distribution applications, construction industry, landscaping, government, and urban applications.

The vehicle collaboration agreement in the U.S. between General Motors and Isuzu Motors is the latest in a more than 40 year strategic partnership between the two companies that has included other commercial vehicle collaborations throughout the world.

According to both companies, to strengthen the product lineup, GM and Isuzu will explore the use of GM com-mercial vehicle components for Isuzu low-cab forward trucks, and GM will continue to produce and supply the 6.0L V-8 gasoline engine and 6-speed transmission for Isuzu gasoline-powered low-cab forward trucks.

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  1. 1. Brian Wilson [ June 17, 2015 @ 04:18PM ]

    Maybe GM can sell a lot of these and then stop distributing parts/servicing them like they did with all the ones purchased in the 90's and 2000's. How could anyone even consider buying one after that? My company has multiple Isuzu trucks from the last GM/Isuzu partnership and if they have any problems, they are virtually worthless. The parts distribution network completely dried up after the dissolution of their previous relationship. Thanks a lot GM. Hopefully, no one purchases one of these. Otherwise, they could be in for a treat when GM leaves them high and dry again.

 

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