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Old 11-06-2008, 04:59 PM   #1
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Suburbans, Escalades going to FWD!

Interesting article. Looks like lighter weight and better fuel mileage for the big SUV's.

Next Chevy Suburban and Cadillac Escalade ESV Moving to Lambda Platform - Auto News - Truck Trend
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:40 PM   #2
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If you want to tow with a Burb, You better get it now... This is not good for towing.... Thats just gonna leave Nissan and Toyota...
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:46 PM   #3
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The article says this:

Quote:
The front-drive-based Lambda architecture has not been seen as the ideal platform for towing applications, but if the Suburban and Escalade ESV SUVs have been slated to move to the platform, GM has presumably overcome that problem.
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:55 PM   #4
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I'd have to agree, this is NOT good news if you plan to tow with these upcoming possible models. I can't see a unibody type vehicle be all that great of a solution, particularly when you get to the far higher hitch weights.

Bottom line, get your Burb now or soon....when these come, I can't see these new possible versions towing 10k lbs.
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:10 PM   #5
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I thought there were some reservations about whether the Lambda platform would be sturdy enough for the Trailblaxer/Envoy line, and now they want to mount a Suburban on it? Yur Kiddin'!

I think it may be a ploy to scare people into buying up the current unsold inventory of Burbs.
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:36 PM   #6
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A unibody, front wheel drive Suburban, what a travesty! That's about like Ford using the name Thunderbird for its new minivan.

Here the name "Suburban" is the longest continuously used model name in automotive history. It's a real shame that GM now wants to use this model name for a wannabe soccer mom baby SUV for the first time since 1935.

Maybe they can now introduce their new econo-turd microcar as the new Corvette.

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Old 11-06-2008, 08:34 PM   #7
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I don't think it's a joke.
In fact, I'll be a little surprised if there are many towable RV's over 5000 lbs in 3-4 years time.

There's no need to panic, however, as this is not going to be far from where things were when Wally was still building them.

This woman, for example, has pulled a trailer around the world:
Rosie

When I say "pulled a trailer" I mean she ran, and pulled the trailer behind her. Amazing.
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:42 PM   #8
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It sounds just like the period from 1974-1979 when GM, Ford, and Chrysler were cobbling together some incredibly stupid platforms to respond to the first CAFE standards. Slapping together mismatched engines, transmissions and drivetrains.

Some of the worst vehicles ever built.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
It sounds just like the period from 1974-1979 when GM, Ford, and Chrysler were cobbling together some incredibly stupid platforms to respond to the first CAFE standards. Slapping together mismatched engines, transmissions and drivetrains.

Some of the worst vehicles ever built.
It wasn't (and isn't) just CAFE, as emissions requirements had a role too.

Both of those may be in play again, but some new things appear to be at work here.
First is the absolute bottom falling out of sales - Hummer was down something like sixty percent October vs Oct last year, and while I haven't looked through them, I'd assume the truck lines were all hammered pretty hard, as they have been since roughly mid-May.

Supposing the markup on trucks is normally fairly high, you can sell a number of cheap (cheaply made, rushed design) cars at cost, keep your CAFE numbers up and still show a profit.

But when the truck sales stop abruptly... you'll find you have tremendous inventory and supply problems (one 6000 pound truck by definition taking twice as much stuff as one 3000 pound car) - and not a soul among us is going to pay a premium for that cheap car from the last paragraph (the "CAFE Gimme" AKA the Aveo)

Now, and this is purely conjecture, run some forecast numbers... you can't afford to keep all the plants open that make trucks, so your forecast product mix has to have fewer trucks, which means you can't give the cars away any more, which means they have to be better cars and more capable of achieving some economy of scale. Better cars take some time, and I think they'll happen, but that does nothing for the economy of scale. So... you have to get more leverage out of your new large-premium crossover platform, the Lambda. Ergo, "Suburban" moves to Lambda.

It actually seems like a really interesting set of challenges. I think Lutz understands what they're up against. The hope I have for Wagoner is that my take on him is wrong, because I'm not sure he understands what a car is or ought to be. I think he thinks of them as refrigerators.

Big announcements tomorrow ... probably going to be very ugly for another year or so.

Must keep fingers crossed.
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSHED View Post
I don't think it's a joke.
In fact, I'll be a little surprised if there are many towable RV's over 5000 lbs in 3-4 years time.

There's no need to panic, however, as this is not going to be far from where things were when Wally was still building them.

This woman, for example, has pulled a trailer around the world:
Rosie

When I say "pulled a trailer" I mean she ran, and pulled the trailer behind her. Amazing.
Good post RedSHED! Thnxs. The Rosie towing the trailer story is amazing.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:19 AM   #11
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I would guess that GM has not overcome the problem, but rather doesn’t see the need for heavy weight towing with these SUV lines, leaving the heavy towing requirements to pickup trucks.

In our small village, every other home seems to have a large SUV in the driveway. I know of only three people who tow something – another airstream owner and a horse trailer tower. The rest of these large SUV’s are used to cart children to/from school and soccer games. I am sure GM took this into account this type of usage when making their decision to change platforms.

If you look at the 2009 GMC Acadia tow rating, it will tow 5,200 pounds, enough for a pop-up trailer, small boat or a utility trailer. I suspect that the new Suburban will jump up a few more pounds of tow rating, but most likely not enough for a trailer like mine (6,000 + lbs.), with the safety margin I have grown to appreciate with my current Suburban (12,000 lbs tow rating).

It is reported that the current Suburban will be around until about 2014. My current Suburban will be ten years old at that point, ready for replacement with the last year of the body on frame model. Unless of course GM goes bankrupt before then….
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:56 AM   #12
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It's a stretch to say that an Acadia's 5200 lb tow rating is only good for a pop-up or a small utility trailer. That rating will tow an Airstream Sport easily or a new 20'er, nevermind larger vintage trailers.

That rating is also based on transmission cooling requirements (measured uphill in the desert at 55 mph), not the inherent stability of the unibody. Given the platform's pretty good handling capabilities already, GM could improve powertrain cooling and have a pretty good package. Still, it would be hard to see this having much more than a 7500 lb rating...but that's similar to an unibody Mercedes GL450.

As for the whole Europe little trailers, little cars thing - there are plenty of diesel SUVs in Europe that tow pretty hefty loads. (My British aunt-in-law's Kia Sorrento turbodiesel easily tows her horse trailer - it replaced a Discovery.) Plenty of pretty long trailers there too - but they're lighter.
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Old 11-07-2008, 11:41 AM   #13
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Airstreams are fat, porky and in need of a diet. Bring the weight down (such as Streamline used to do with metal cabinetry) and one will not need as much tow vehicle. My parents and grandparents used full-size and luxury cars (122" and 130" wheelbase with around 220 to 290 net HP) to pull 28' trailers all across US, Canada and Mexico.

Too bad about Suburban but there hasn't been a commercial need for one since the van lines were all improved in the 1970's, and crew cab pickups became available across the board.

A 7000-lb rating is all that is needed.
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Old 11-07-2008, 11:46 AM   #14
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Hi RedShed. When you get that harness ready for your 31, don't forget to get a picture while your pulling it. Maybe you can replace the bicycle guy in Airstream lore.
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