General Motors and GMC can lay claim to a first: the automaker and the premium truck and SUV brand are the first to incorporate carbon fiber into a mass-produced pickup truck. However, GMC and the CarbonPro bed aren’t the end, but rather the beginning.
Automotive News Canada (subscription required) reported Monday that the same carbon-fiber reinforced plastic found in the CarbonPro bed could make its way to other GM vehicles in various applications. What those are remain to be determined and largely depend on cost and consumer benefit, Mark Voss, engineering group manager for GM’s pickup boxes, told the publication.
He added if GM makes a component out of steel, it could be done with carbon fiber as well. That puts a lot of options on the table for GM and carbon fiber use in the future.
However, carbon fiber remains an expensive material, especially for mass-market vehicles. Economies of scale can certainly help make it more affordable, though GMC hasn’t provided a cost for how much the CarbonPro bed will set buyers back. The material gives owners plenty of benefits, such as slightly increased payload capabilities and no need for a bedliner. The carbon fiber handles some of the toughest situations without extra protection.
In fact, the 2016 Silverado campaign that showed how well the Chevy’s bed handled drops compared to the Ford F-150 came directly from GMC tests for the CarbonPro bed. At the time, obviously, GMC didn’t disclose it had a carbon-fiber bed in the works. The scenarios consumers saw in the ads, though, were actual tests GMC performed when benchmarking its own trucks and competitors.
The CarbonPro bed will launch with the GMC Sierra Denali and AT4 models later this year. It remains unclear where the equipment will head next, but it will likely spread across more Sierra trims. We’d imagine it will make its way to the Sierra’s corporate cousin one day, too: the Chevrolet Silverado.