Why GM Lowering 2015 Silverado & Sierra Tow Ratings Is Such A Big Deal

J2807 is an independent standard for truck towing capacity developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Ford, GM, and Ram have promised to adopt this standard for the 2015 model year and GM's just made good; announcing revised ratings for the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and 2015 GMC Sierra.

The Big Three were slated to change their tow ratings to comply with J2807 in 2009 (or 2013, depending on who you ask) but when Ford backed out at the last minute so did GM and Ram for fears of having to advertise much lower numbers than their competitor.

Toyota has been publishing their towing capacities to the J2807 standard since 2011 and Nissan has promised to do so when their next generation Titan is released; presumably in January 2015.

Ford has since re-promised that they'd state towing capacities to the SAE's standard with the introduction of the 2015 F-150. While we've yet to see the official ratings for the Ford's new aluminum truck, General Motors has taken the initiative and adjusted their advertised towing numbers for all light-duty 2015 Chevrolet and GMC pickups to adhere to J2807... the result is a capacity drop by 400 pounds for most configurations.

GM is probably hoping we'll say something like, "good for them, showing their hand before the mighty Ford does!"

It is good for them. But in a way that reminds me of a certain Chris Rock skit. They were supposed to adhere to the J2807 tow-rating standard, and now they've done it.

Chevy's Communications Manager Tom Wilkinson is on the SAE Tow Vehicle Trailer Rating Committee, for goodness sake... I might even make the claim that GM had a lot to do with creating the standard they were too nervous would make them look bad compared to competitors until now.

Why GM Lowering 2015 Silverado & Sierra Tow Ratings Is Such A Big Deal

But better late than never, and from GM's perspective much better now than after Ford— Adjusting tow ratings to the SAE standard before Ford publishes any stats is a no-lose situation for GM. If Ford keeps their word, GM will still be able to say "they jumped first." If Ford backs out again, they'll look like real jerks. Plus, that would give GM the opportunity to revert to the higher, non-SAE compliant numbers all over again.

In light of this news Ram maintains that they'll line up their towing numbers to J2807 for model year 2015 too. Now it's up to Ford to hold up their end so we can finally have an independently-authenticated set of towing ratings across brands for light duty trucks.

I do believe Ford was planning on evaluating tow ratings to the standard for 2015, but GM's "early" adoption should solidify the industry's move to J2807. Being able to finally line up pickup trucks across automakers and know that their towing rating was measured through the same tests is certainly going to make comparison easier, and should give owners a lot more confidence in their trucks when they know what towing levels really are safe.

So what are the revised numbers for GM's 2015 half-ton trucks?

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 15002014(Pre SAE J2807)2015(SAE J2807)
Regular cab 2WD 4.3L V-6 6.5' box 3.43 axle6,400 lbs.6,100 lbs.
Double cab 2WD 5.3L V-8 6.5' box 3.08 axle6,900 lbs.6,500 lbs.
Crew cab 2WD 5.3L V-8 5.7' box 3.42 axle9,800 lbs.9,400 lbs.
Regular cab 4x4 4.3L V-6 6.5' box 3.42 axle7,600 lbs.7,600 lbs.
Double cab 4x4 5.3L V-8 6.5' box 3.42 axle9,600 lbs.9,200 lbs.
Crew cab 4x4 5.3L V-8 5.7' box 3.73 axle11,200 lbs.10,800 lbs.
2015 GMC Sierra 15002014(Pre SAE J2807)2015(SAE J2807)
Double cab 4x4 5.3L V-8 6' 6" box 3.42 axle9,600 lbs.9,200 lbs.
Crew cab 4x4 5.3L V-8 5' 8" box 3.73 axle11,200 lbs.10,800 lbs.

Image: GM