If there’s one significant thing that concerns pickup truck buyers, it’s durability. In the rough-and-tough world of trucks and the people who use them day in and day out for work, durability, dependability, and reliability are hallmarks of a good pickup. So it’s easy to understand potential customers being somewhat concerned when an automaker changes the formula for a new pickup, even slightly. But that didn’t stop GMC from introducing its CarbonPro carbon fiber composite box.
To ensure that the new box could withstand the daily abuse of a pickup truck, General Motors went to great lengths to test its durability. Here’s the story of how it did just that.
In developing the CarbonPro box, GM performed rigorous drop tests, including dropping cinder blocks, 1,800-pound loads of gravel, and water-filled steel drums weighing 450 pounds from varying heights. Even though the carbon fiber composite box is naturally resistant to corrosion, GM performed corrosion testing anyway to guarantee durability. GM also put CarboPro through extreme temperature testing, taking it from Yuma, Arizona to Kapuskasing, Ontario to ensure the new invention could live up to unforgiving environments. But The General didn’t stop there.
It also performed snowmobile tests, where a snowmobile with metal studs on its tracks was driven into the bed. Then, a 250-pound driver accelerated the machine to full throttle. The test resulted in only minimal scratching to the bed surface. Finally, GM took a portable generator and aimed its exhaust at the corner of the bed, so as to ensure high heats and vibrations would not degrade the bed’s integrity.
All that represents a very good way to ensure that the CarbonPro box is fit for the most demanding pickup truck duties.
Customers who wish to get their hands on a pickup truck with the new CarbonPro box will have to be patient. At first, GMC will offer the box on limited-run models called the GMC Sierra CarbonPro Edition, which will be available on the 2019 Sierra AT4 1500 and 2019 Sierra Denali 1500. Availability will be expanded on the 2020 GMC Sierra.