GM Defense eyes $1 billion European market for tactical vehicles

GM Defense: Militarized Trucks for Special Operations Units

PARIS — GM Defense hopes that a resurgence of the car giant’s commercial business in Europe will pave the way for sales of militarized trucks used by special operations units, a company executive said.The company makes the Infantry Squad vehicle, based on the Colorado pickup truck, which is in production for vanguard U.S. Army formations including the 82nd Airborne Division, and is readying a slightly larger variant, the Light Tactical Vehicle, based on the Silverado truck.

Executives now hope to find buyers in Europe, with acquisition competitions Denmark, Spain and the U.K. adding to a combined $1 billion in potential business, according to Bradley Watters, vice president of international development.

The push aims to cut into the hold of the militarized Mercedes Benz’s G-class rides popular with armed forces here, Watters explained. The key proposition is similar: The backing of an automotive industry titan means assured spare parts and scaleable pricing. Plus, he added, electrification options provide stealthy operations on the battlefield, among other advantages.

“GM is making a comeback in Europe,” Watters said in an interview ahead of the Eurosatory trade show here. Last fall, the company opened a showroom in Zurich, Switzerland, for the Cadillac brand, followed by another one here late last month. “Our customers tell us, ‘We like big U.S. trucks,’” Watters said.

Notably, GM Defense’s campaign relies on vehicle nimbleness over armor. The ISV vehicles are constructed without major protection at all, banking instead on the idea that dicey battlefield situations are best left in the rear-view mirror.

If sales materialize, they would likely come in the form of direct commercial sales, as opposed to foreign military sales through the U.S. government. That‘s because the U.S. Army is just at the beginning of outfitting its own formations, Watters said.

Author: Sebastian Sprenger
Source: DefenseNews

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