- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

LA JOLLA, Calif. Sitting under a GMC display tent was a collection of trucks that looked as if they were chiseled from solid metal blocks. Among these powerfully sculpted vehicles were a couple of hard-core examples of "industrial precision" designing, as well as a new top-line production vehicle they inspired.
The concept duo embodying GMC's industrial precision design philosophy: the Terradyne full-size pickup and Terracross sport utility vehicle. These inspired the creation of GMC's brightest star for 2002 the Sierra Denali extended-cab, short-box, half-ton pickup.
The imposing Terradyne stands like a monument to the new spirit of GMC. It's the original new-breed styling icon and ultimate application of GMC's industrial precision design philosophy an approach aimed at creating an image of strength and quality. "Industrial precision is designing the vehicle to have the look and feel of a well-made precision tool," said Carl Zipfel, GMC brand character chief designer.
Mr. Zipfel said Terradyne conveys the "form vocabulary" developed early on to describe a professional-grade look. He notes three key elements in achieving this appearance: a strong grille with bold GMC logo to take advantage of brand equity; a power profile boasting high, billet-cut shoulders; and thick geometric forms at the fenders/wheel openings.
Terracross is a smaller crossover model that echoes Terradyne styling. It's a highly flexible vehicle featuring the advantages of an SUV, pickup and five-seat convertible.
Terracross also sends a message of industrial precision. It, too, has machined-look surfaces, powerful brushed-metal grille and dominant headlamps. Since this vehicle is designed to appeal to a wide range of buyers, its form is less aggressive than Terradyne's. Edges are toned down, and corners aren't as severe.
Along with styling cues, engineering breakthroughs introduced in these concepts are found on the 2002 models. Notable is Quadrasteer four-wheel steering, which is standard on Sierra Denali, GMC's showcase pickup. This truck replaces the short-lived C3.
"The new Sierra Denali is the pinnacle of the Sierra brand, and it is the ultimate full-size, half-ton pickup truck in the industry," said Sam Mancuso, GMC Sierra brand manager.
Mr. Mancuso says Sierra Denali has class-leading engineering, spotlighting the following: a 6-liter V-8 engine delivering an estimated 300 horsepower and 360 foot-pounds of torque, full-time all-wheel drive vs. on-demand four-wheel drive and the first application of Quadrasteer four-wheel steering.
Among Quadrasteer benefits are improved maneuverability, increased trailering capabilities (a 4WS tow mode can be selected) and more-responsive driving control. The electronically activated system features rear wheels that turn, but their direction is dependent on vehicle speed. In low-speed operations parking or backing rear wheels turn in the opposite direction of front wheels, but at high speeds, the rear wheels turn in the same direction to enhance stability.
Along with contributing to this full-size pickup's ability to twist through obstacles with the deftness of a compact car, Quadrasteer gives it the turning circle of a small car. Sierra Denali's turning circle of 37.4 feet compares to a 2001 C3's 47.3 feet and a Saturn 3-door coupe's 37.1 feet.
Along with GMC's best-ever offerings of agility, luxury and stability, Sierra Denali beefs up its workhorse capabilities with significant chassis upgrades. It's fitted with higher-capacity rear axle and spring components that increase the rear axle's gross weight. This stout rear axle pairs with large, twin-piston rear brakes to provide a larger 7,200-pound gross vehicle weight rating and 1,722-pound payload capability. Trailering capacity also gets a major boost from the C3's 8,700 pounds to 10,000 pounds.
Production of GMC's best-of-all-worlds Sierra Denali begins in October. Pricing is estimated to be in the low $40,000s. Expect a potent wave of design and engineering enhancements in the next few years reflecting GMC's quest of building professional-grade products reminiscent of the industrial precision theme.
"Our objective is to build trucks with capabilities beyond customers' expectations," said Lynn Myers, Pontiac-GMC general manager.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide