GM lands $36.4 million contract to develop heavy-duty Suburbans

The United States government has given GM Defense a contract worth $36.4 million specifically to develop heavy-duty Suburban SUVs for government agencies. The contract allows GM Defense LLC, a subsidiary of General Motors, to develop and validate next-generation Large Sport Utility Commercial Vehicles for fleet production.

GM Defense will develop a purpose-built heavy-duty Suburban and produce ten vehicles over the next 24 months as part of the contract. The new SUV will use significant amounts of off-the-shelf components, including body, exterior, propulsion, interior, and brakes from its existing consumer vehicles. GM says its HD Suburban will have a new and unique body-on-frame chassis and suspension.

The new components are specifically designed to support the increased vehicle performance requirements, higher payload capacity, and greater ground vehicle weight required by the government. GM Defense notes that it plans to use advanced manufacturing tools and techniques, including fixtureless assembly and flexible fabrication, to increase efficiency and quality for low-volume production of the HD Suburban.

Vehicles will be delivered in two phases, with the first delivery happening next spring. Assuming the production of the ten initial vehicles meets expectations, a production contract for a fleet of 200 HD Suburbans per year for the next nine years is expected. The production contract would be granted around May 2023.

GM is offering no details about the vehicle so far as performance and payload. The mystery is no surprise considering the vehicles will be used for secretive government needs. The government wants any potential enemy to have as little detail about its HD Suburban as possible. However, considering that GM Defense is using significant off-the-shelf components already available, it's likely the HD Suburban will borrow heavily from the heavy-duty Silverado truck.