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Chevrolet premieres heavy-duty Silverado in Flint

Nora Naughton
The Detroit News

Flint — Chevrolet introduced its redesigned 2020 Heavy Duty pickups Tuesday at its truck assembly plant here, the third all-new Silverado in 18 months.

The new truck, built at the renovated Flint Assembly Plant, will require 1,000 new jobs at the plant, General Motors Co. President Mark Reuss said.

The new truck and jobs at Flint Assembly come as GM is laying off some 4,000 salaried workers in the next few weeks. Reuss acknowledged the somber circumstances before kicking off the presentation of the new Silverado Heavy Duty.

"As difficult as it’s been, these are the right decisions to make the company more competitive today and more successful in the future and long-term," Reuss said.

Chevy gave a sneak peek of the truck in December, debuting a new exterior design that differs from the light-duty Silverado that debuted at the Detroit auto show last year.

Powered by an all-new gas-powered V-8 engine paired with the 10-speed Allison transmission that debuted on the new heavy-duty GMC Sierra last month, the new Heavy Duty breaks away from the Camaro-inspired grille design on the 1500 with a bolder fascia and bigger headlights. Chevy said in December that the Heavy Duty trucks only share a roof with the light-duty 1500.

The Silverado HD trucks' new exterior design differs from the light-duty Silverado that debuted at the Detroit auto show last year.  This is the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD High Country.

Every diesel-powered Chevy dually will now tow more than 30,000 pounds. And the gas-powered 2500 HD's max towing is 17,400 pounds, an 18 percent increase from the current model.

The 6.6-liter V-8 Duramax turbo-diesel engine will develop 445 horsepower and 910 pounds-feet of torque, falling short of the 1,000 pound-feet of torque achieved by rival Ram's new heavy-duty truck.

Lead engineer Jaclyn McQuaid acknowledged the higher torque from competitors, but said that Chevrolet has strengthened the heavy-duty trucks' axles, locking rear-differential, prop shaft and u-joint to allow the truck to use all 910 pound-feet of torque in first gear.

Chevy's new behemoths will still benefit from the light-duty Silverado's new high-strength steel architecture with a new chassis that allows for three more inches of rear legroom.

And the HD's box, which already has corner steps for easier access, gets two more steps at the front of the box for easier, forward-box access.

Rich Scheer, Director, Exterior Design, Chevy Trucks, talks between the Silverado 1500, left, and Silverado HD.  The HD trucks come in five new trims, from the basic work truck to the top-level High Country with a chromed-out grille.

XXXXGM President Mark Reuss unveils the Chevy Silverado HD at Flint Assembly, Tuesday morning, February 5, 2019. (Todd McInturf, The Detroit News)2019.

The new Silverado HD comes in five new trims from the basic work truck all the way up to the top-level High Country with a chromed-out grille.

Chevrolet's new heavy-duty trucks are the latest big pickups to debut this year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also debuted its new Ram heavy-duty trucks at the Detroit auto show and Chevrolet's sister brand GMC revealed its Sierra heavy duty in San Diego.

GM has been on a years-long mission to update its pickup lineup. Since re-entering the mid-size truck market in 2015, GM has brought all-new versions of the midsize Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks and full-size Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Ford Motor Co. also joined the midsize pickup market this year with the Ranger. Reuss welcomed the new competition Tuesday.

"Welcome to the party," Reuss said. "You're only five years late and half a million trucks behind."

Twitter: @NoraNaughton