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Wednesday, 08 April 2015 00:00

New GM Silverado Engineered for Better Serviceability During Collision Repair

When General Motors initiated the redesign of the Chevy Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck several years ago, an important aspect of the project was to incorporate features to reduce the time, cost and complexity during the collision repair process.

“When we design trucks, we don’t only consider what features our consumers demand from a full size-truck,” said Mark Szlachta, Advanced Service Design Engineer for General Motors. “We also approach the process with our technician hat on, ensuring we engineer a truck that is straightforward and cost-effective to repair.”

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When Autobody News asked Szlachta the various requirements that went in to redesigning the truck, he said that one of his primary goals as a service engineer was to look at the project from a body repair perspective.

“I’m looking at the vehicle from the perspective not how it’s going to look when it’s done, or how it’s going to be built, but how it will fare in the event of a crash. How we are going to take it apart, how we’re going to put it together and try to make sure that at the very least we don’t lose any serviceability,” said Szlachta, who has a background in collision repair. “In fact, our job is to always improve serviceability.”

Szlachta said a full-size pickup truck is typically re-engineered every five to seven years.

“The reason why we change is because technology changes,” he said. These new technologies help make the truck quieter, stronger, lighter and more fuel efficient. Tom Wilkinson, communications manager for Chevy Trucks, said, “The other thing that continually evolves are safety standards and crash testing, such as new roof crush standards and new offset front impact standards. We have to do a lot of re-engineering to make sure that you’re doing well in those tests.”

The new Silverado is constructed using significant amounts of high-strength steel, particularly in the frame and cab structure. He said this makes the truck stronger and more rigid for improved safety, ride and vibration control, and helps reduce mass for improved fuel economy.

When Autobody News asked Wilkinson if there were any plans to change the Silverado's body components to aluminum during a mid-cycle update, he said there are no plans to do so.

"We already use aluminum hoods on full-size and mid-size trucks," said Wilkinson.

“Given the ongoing wave of new, refreshed and redesigned vehicles being introduced each year, it’s more important than ever that automakers focus on design for affordable reparability,” said John Van Alstyne, President and CEO of I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. “Understanding and adapting to the issues and opportunities associated with advanced materials and technologies is not only a key consideration in the early stages of the design and engineering process, but the impact on repair must also be considered upfront to ensure complete, safe and quality, and affordable repairs throughout a vehicle’s total lifecycle.”

The 2015 Silverado is currently being sold by Chevrolet. For more information, visit www.Chevrolet.com 

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