Big Diesel-Burning Pickup Trucks Are Paying for GM’s Electric Future

The vehicles that will secure the next decade for General Motors Co. aren’t covered in self-driving sensors or loaded with batteries. No, the future depends on hulking pickup trucks that often run on diesel and cost more than the average BMW.

That’s the irony at the heart of GM’s event this week at its sprawling factory in Flint, Michigan, where the next iterations of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will be introduced. These revamped heavy-duty pickups, which go on sale in June, feature advanced, lightweight materials and fuel-efficient engines but none of the technology that will supposedly shape the next era of the auto industry. Yet in Detroit that future can’t exist without the profit margins generated by classic pickup trucks.