New Chevy Silverado

General Motors’ unveiling of the new Chevrolet Silverado pickup over the weekend was just the start.

As reported by USA Today, despite chatter about robo-taxis and shared mobility, the 2018 Detroit auto show likely will be dominated by that most traditional and profitable of vehicles: the full-size pickup truck. 

Large pickups are to Detroit automakers what LeBron James is to the Cleveland Cavaliers or Beyonce is to the live-music market. They are the franchise.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expected to take the wraps off the 2019 Ram 1500 at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And GM revealed the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado in Texas on Saturday and promises to talk a lot more about it.

Why all the interest in pickups? Not only is Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado the nation’s two top-selling vehicles of any sort, they are profit machines.

In a 2016 presentation to investors, Itay Michaeli, auto analyst with Citigroup, said each GM pickup truck generates a profit of about $11,000. The automaker makes only $500 to $1,000 on an average SUV or crossover, and loses a few hundred dollars on an average passenger car.

The average selling price for full-size pickups was $47,393 in November, up about $400 from a year earlier. When you add on all available bells and whistles the sticker price can approach or exceed $60,000. 

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