DETROIT — The Detroit Three’s pickup truck battle intensified as General Motors Co. paraded its freshly minted five-star government safety rating for the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
The vehicles, which share the same platform and components, earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s five-star Overall Vehicle Score.
It is the first time any pickups have achieved that highest possible score since the regulatory group updated its New Car Assessment Program for the 2011 model year. The Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 and Chrysler Group LLC’s Ram 1500 pickups both received four-star ratings.
The rating, which also applies to the premium Silverado High Country and Sierra Denali models, gives GM bragging rights in the pickup battle.
“Safety is as important to truck buyers as it is to car buyers,” Gay Kent, GM general chief of vehicle safety and crashworthiness, said in a statement.
The pickups use high-strength steel, fully boxed frames, and technology such as lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, and rear-vision cameras.
GM redesigned its full-size pickups for the first time in seven years, giving it fresh firepower in a fierce competition with Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota Motor Corp.
Chrysler’s Ram won the North American Truck of the Year in January, and Ford is expected to reveal a redesigned version of its F-series pickup next year.
Industry experts say pickup sales are benefiting from pent-up demand, a recovering housing market, and a strong energy industry.
In related news, Nissan Motor Co., which has struggled to win over U.S. buyers of large pickups, said it will offer a diesel engine in its redesigned Titan truck, a first for a Japan-based automaker.
The 5-liter, V-8 turbo diesel will be supplied by Cummins Inc., Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan said in a statement Tuesday. Details of the next Mississippi-built Titan, which hasn’t been fully revamped since its 2003 introduction, aren’t being disclosed at this time, the company said.
“Truck owners told us there’s a demand for the performance and torque of a diesel in a capable truck that doesn’t require the jump up to a heavy-duty commercial pickup,” Fred Diaz, vice president for North American Nissan sales and marketing, said in the statement. “There is no question that the new Titan will turn heads.”
Nissan delivered only 10,020 Titans in the first seven months of 2013, a small fraction of the number produced by Ford, GM, and Chrysler.