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GMC Sierra Offers More Innovative Trailering Tech as Americans Continue to Hit the Road for Outdoor Adventures
Jack-Knife Alert, Trailer Length Indicator and enhanced Rear Trailer View join existing available camera technology on GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra Heavy Duty to help drivers tow like a pro
DETROIT – At a time when towing is on the rise, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra Heavy Duty will offer several new available features that build on the trucks’ strong suite of customer-focused trailering technologies.
“Trailering is essential for pickup truck customers. More than half of our Sierra customers use their trucks to primarily tow equipment for outdoor adventures,” said GMC Marketing Director Rich Latek. “We continually listen to customer feedback, which tells us they want class-leading safety, technology and comfort to tow what they need, whether it’s a boat, an RV or a trailer hauling off-road toys.”
These updates arrive as an ever-growing number of Americans are turning to outdoor activities that require a trailer. In a recent study, the RV Industry Association found that more than 46 million Americans are planning to take an RV trip in the next year. As a result, shipments of RVs have been increasing this summer and towable RVs make up about 90 percent of those sales.1
New or enhanced trailering tech available on both 2021 GMC Sierra light-duty and heavy-duty models includes:
Trailer Length Indicator: New for 2021, when enabled and driving forward with the turn signal activated, the center console screen displays a red overlay twice the length of the compatible trailer and shows when other vehicles are present and may interfere with a lane-change maneuver.
Jack-Knife Alert: New for 2021, Jack-Knife Alert tracks the position of the compatible trailer in relation to the vehicle. If the front of the trailer approaches the rear of the vehicle, an alert is displayed when there may be a potential jack-knife situation.
Rear Trailer View now features guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator: Rear Trailer View has been enhanced to include guidelines that assist when backing a trailer into place and a Trailer-Angle Indicator to show the relationship between the truck and compatible trailer. Rear Trailer View requires the customer-installed available GM auxiliary accessory camera.
Rear Side View enhancement: When driving forward on the 2020 GMC Sierra, Rear Side View provides a split view of the left and right sides of the truck and compatible trailer that is automatically biased based on the trailer’s angle. In the 2021 GMC Sierra, drivers will have access to this view while driving in reverse, making it easier to see surrounding vehicles and objects while positioning a trailer.
Cargo Bed View enhancement: New Cargo Bed Zoom View and Bed Hitch Guidance are now available, which can be helpful for aligning and hooking up a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer.
Select trailering features require a conventional-hitched box or camping trailer and additional setup may be required. Customers can see their dealers for full details.
Additional updates for 2021 GMC Sierra 1500
- Other additions to the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 include increased availability of the MultiPro Tailgate on SLE and Elevation trims, as well as a new selection of colors. New available features on the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 include 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires and an off-road high-clearance step.
- The available 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel, which provides an ideal balance of performance and efficiency with 460 lb-ft of torque and best-in-class horsepower while offering up to an EPA-estimated 30 mpg on the highway, is a popular choice for GMC Sierra customers. For 2021, the MSRP of the popular engine will be reduced by $1,500, placing it at $995 MSRP above the Sierra 1500’s 5.3L V-8 with Dynamic Fuel Management.
- Additional updates for 2021 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty
- New additions to the 2021 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty include enhancements to the trucks’ popular premium trims. HD Surround Vision and Bed View camera technology are now standard on Denali. The new Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition will have several unique features, including exclusive 20-inch high-gloss black wheels and new power-retractable assist steps.
- Similar to the Sierra 1500, the Sierra Heavy Duty AT4 will now have available 18-inch Mud Terrain tires and an available off-road high clearance step accessory.
- Other additions to Sierra HD include the MultiPro Tailgate standard on SLE and three new colors.
1 Source: RV Industry Association, https://www.rvia.org/reports-trends
With a strong foundation of manufacturing trucks since 1902 and now selling in a dozen countries across the world, GMC offers purpose-built vehicles designed and engineered to the highest standard. From the all-new compact SUV Terrain to the Sierra HD, our trucks and crossovers deliver GMC’s signature combination of intuitive technologies and premium execution, with the popular Denali sub-brand representing the pinnacle of GMC design, performance and amenities. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @GMC or at www.facebook.com/gmc.
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Always thought of GMC as having the best heavy duty and optioned-out trucks., the 2500HD and 3500HD both with the Cummins 6.6 diesels. An industry leading 1100ft-lbs of torque, 10 speed automatic transmission manufactured by Allison gives you all the tree stump pulling you can want with almost 30 highway mpg's!
There is also a new 6.4 Gas engine for those that don't need diesel power! You can see that the vehicle is equipped with a fifth wheel for towing goose-neck trailers. Max trailer weight of 27,000 lbs Optional supercharger package on the cyclone.
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Fleet 101: What is Torque?
Value of Effectively Maintaining Upfits
Your upfit is spec’ed, purchased, and installed, and you are now utilizing it in your operations. The next step in the upfit process is ensuring proper maintenance.
Top Upfit Maintenance Challenges:
A huge challenge many fleet managers face in maintaining upfits is simply communicating the value and importance of proper upfit maintenance to field personnel and drivers.
“Most drivers understand the importance of oil changes, brake services, etc., and will typically make sure their vehicle is serviced in a timely manner. But prioritizing upfit maintenance in a similar fashion typically isn’t something that comes naturally. The fleet manager must educate their frontline personnel on the critical aspect of properly maintaining the vehicle’s equipment; not only to maximize its effective lifecycle and control costs but also to ensure the safety of their fleet personnel in the field,” said Jeff Klinghoffer, regional engineering manager for Holman Enterprises.
At the end of the day, it comes down to education and awareness.
“As a fleet manager, you’ll need to communicate the importance of proper upfit and equipment maintenance to your drivers. Beyond that, you can certainly implement processes and procedures to assess the condition of the vehicle and its upfit regularly. You can also explore potential gamification or incentive programs to help secure buy-in from your drivers,” Klinghoffer added.
Let’s face it; fleet managers have a lot on their plate.
“Fleet managers face daily challenges mixed in with bigger picture issues that include building a safe, reliable, and appropriate truck for the job while making executives and stakeholders happy. Finding the time to answer all of the challenges can be difficult,” said Mathew Marcussen, director of customer relations for BrandFX. “Taking the time to do research and learn more, in the beginning, will reap great savings, benefits, and efficiency in the end. Also, purchase a body that maintains its good condition over a long period will reduce the cost of repairs and service.”
When it comes to the different types of materials used in upfitting, you need to select the right material for the job.
“Ladder racks on top of cargo vans are impacted by either the snow and ice removal chemicals in the Midwest or the salty air near coastal regions. Using aluminum and stainless steel in those products is a must to provide the customer a quality product that gets them a good return on their investment,” said Katie Groves, national fleet sales manager for Adrian Steel.
Don’t forget to depend on those who know upfitting best.
“Partner with an upfitter that has a national presence and a team that can support these instances,” Groves recommended.
6 Mistakes Maintaining Upfits
While mistakes may not often happen when maintaining upfits, they can occur. Here are a few top ones to avoid:
Mistake 1: Lack of Inspection
Just as drivers need to inspect your vehicle for leaks, tire wear, etc., they should examine their upfits, too.
“Constantly check routing and clipping for rub points, just because a battery cable was tied up nicely last time you inspected it doesn’t mean a clip didn’t break loose since then,” said Brad Howard, director of Operations for Fontaine Modification.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Preventive Maintenance
When it comes to the vehicles themselves, preventive maintenance (PM) second nature, but that may not be true for upfits.
“Fleet managers realize that adhering to a recommended PM schedule is vital to optimizing the vehicle’s lifecycle and controlling the total cost of ownership. However, the same methodology also applies to a vehicle’s upfitting and equipment, but preventive maintenance for these items is often overlooked,” said Kelly Klemisch, regional engineering manager, Holman Enterprises.
To avoid this mistake, work upfits into your PM strategy for your vehicles.
“Regular service for equipment such as air compressors, material handling units, and aerial devices should be included in the unit’s PM schedule. Additionally, you can also include inspections in the schedule as well, so drivers receive reminders for those items as well. Or, at the very least, take measures to keep these PM items top-of-mind for drivers and operators. For example, you can track crane or compressors hours on an interior door decal,” Klemisch added.
Mistake 3: Not Adjusting Upfits Correctly
Make sure that ladder racks are correctly adjusted to your ladders.
“A properly adjusted ladder rack will keep the ladder secured on the van during transportation, reduce noise that could cause driver distraction, and extend the life of both the ladder and ladder rack,” said Katie Groves, national fleet sales manager for Adrian Steel.
Mistake 4: Misusing Upfit Equipment
You should also ensure your drivers and frontline workers fully understand how to use the vehicle’s equipment properly.
“Many vocational vehicles feature sophisticated and complex attachments, so training your employees on the best practices for using these units will help to minimize premature wear and tear and maximize the equipment’s effective lifecycle. This also applies to something as simple as a vehicle’s storage units. We often see fleet personnel overloading a service body or interior shelving with more than it is intended to hold, and this really impacts the longevity of these items,” said Klemisch of Holman Enterprises.
Mistake 5: Wrong Service Timing
When you service certain upfit items is also essential.
“When you service trucks, and related upfits is a big item. One example is a snowplow: make sure to service at the end of the snow season AND beginning of the season,” said Patrick Clark, director of fleet sales for Dejana Truck and Utility Equipment.
Mistake 6: Improper Equipment Storage
Where you store your equipment has a considerable impact on its useful service life.
“Also storing equipment inside helps preserve the life. Work with the local upfitters to make sure you are servicing cranes, liftgates, plows etc correctly,” said Clark of Dejana Truck and Utility Equipment.