GM CEO Fritz Henderson announced this morning that the company will seek direct input and feedback in the development of future vehicles through its new website The Lab, part of GM's FastLane blogs.
"Our customers are the reason we're here," Henderson said. "It's critical to have their voices help shape our products and their experience with them. Their feedback helps us learn and evolve so we can continuously improve our cars and trucks, and our customer relationships."
First up: The midsize GMC Bare Necessity pickup that was designed as part of GM's Eco Initiative project that prioritizes the development of fuel-efficient vehicles in response to consumer worries over last year's spike in fuel prices and the end of cheap gas.
"We talked to truck owners who were taking personal responsibility for the environment," Bare Necessity designer Wade Bryant wrote at The Lab. "They were cleaning up city parks, converting their homes to solar power, taking on real projects to do their part. These projects demanded a truck. Their current trucks got less than 20 mpg. They wanted a better way to get the job done without burning so much fuel."
The Bare Necessity features a cool new trick for a truck that goes another step beyond the Chevy Avalanche's pass-through midgate. The back of the cab can flip around 180 degrees to provide either extra interior room or additional cargo space while allowing the truck to keep a short wheelbase that helps keep its weight down for better fuel economy.
"The bulkhead flips 180 degrees and reverses itself," Bryant wrote. "The cool thingis it swaps about two feet of space between the cab and the bed. Thismeans we could remove up to two feet of length from the truck, quite anamount of length and weight. Now a truck that's the length of a shortcab pickup can do the job of a crew cab truck. One person can transformthe truck from two rows of seats with a very short bed to one row ofseats with a medium-length bed in under one minute. We came up withseveral other approaches to this problem, but this one will generatethe most discussion."
The Bare Necessity truck is just a design idea for now. GM is looking for you to provide feedback. The big questions are, what does doing it all with less mean to you? What do you need in a truck?
[Source: The Lab via Jalopnik]