Like an athlete juicing, General Motors is weighing its trucks with certain parts removed in order to boost the vehicles’ payload ratings. As Automotive News notes, payload is partly used to separate trucks into different classes. These classes “are based on the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating, which is equal to the pickup’s base curb weight plus its maximum payload.”
By taking off extraneous items like rear bumpers, GM has less curb weight to contend with, and thus it can increase its trucks’ payloads to better compete against other trucks. GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson confirmed with AN that the company “establishes a minimum curb weight — and thus a higher maximum payload capacity — on some of its heavy-duty vehicles by deleting the weight of the rear bumper and switching out heavier standard steel wheels for optional lighter alloy wheels.”
GM is certainly not alone in doing this, as Ford reportedly adopted a similar practice four years ago; however, both companies run the risk of having a customer inadvertently void his or her vehicle’s warranty. As AN writes: “if a customer loaded a base [Ford F-450] to Ford’s advertised maximum payload capacity, the vehicle would exceed its Class 3 gross vehicle weight rating by 61 pounds.”
Not all automakers pull such weight saving measures, though. Toyota and Chrysler told AN that they use “only an unmodified base curb weight” when weighing their trucks to measure gross vehicle weight rating.