GM Defense is bringing the Suburban HD back, but, at least for the first batch of super-tough Suburbans, you won't be able to buy one. GM subsidiary GM Defense — builders of the Chevy Colorado-based Infantry Squad Vehicle — has announced a $36.4 million deal with the U.S. State Department to produce 10 custom Suburban vehicles. Yes, if you're doing some simple math, that comes out to $3.64 million per Suburban.
How do you get a $3.64 million Suburban? Well, government weight and payload requirements exceed the capability of the civilian Suburban. So GM needs to build a bespoke body-on-frame chassis and suspension for the vehicles to account for that. GM Defense says it will use stock components for the body, exterior, interior, propulsion system and brakes.
GM Defense did not note what that propulsion system would be. The Biden administration has been pushing to convert government fleet vehicles to EVs assembled in America, so an electric motor could be possible; after all, the Hummer EV SUT's powertrain is designed to work with a truck checking it at more than 4.5 tons. The upgraded super-powerful diesel engine that may arrive in the next Silverado HD could be another option.
Delivering the 10 Suburban vehicles may only be the first stage of the project. GM Defense says the second phase of deliveries could be a contract to produce 200 heavy-duty Suburbans per year for the government through 2032. Presumably, if GM Defense has the tooling in place and the research development cost sorted with the first batch, the per-vehicle cost would decrease.
And, hey, if GM already has a chassis, suspension, and propulsion system in place for a heavier-duty Suburban, it would make it a lot easier for Chevy to revive the civilian version.