The auto world can be something of a mystery, even if you’re an auto enthusiast. We see very little of what goes on behind the scenes when vehicles are assembled for passenger use. For many people, the story of a car begins when it sits expectantly in a dealership lot. However, the story is different for Chevy drivers, especially in Texas. That’s because your Texas Chevy dealer sources many of their products from a short distance away.
That’s right; many Chevy vehicles are actually constructed right in Texas. And we mean fully constructed, from steel body segments all the way to finishing touches, like a final polish and whatever it is that makes new cars smell so good. The “made in America” trend of about a decade ago may have lost its luster, but Chevrolet hasn’t rescinded their commitment to domestic production, and it shows in the quality of what comes out.
Where in Texas?
General Motors, Chevy’s parent company, proudly makes several vehicles in Arlington, TX. This state-of-the-art facility is where they produce their tough and spacious SUVs, including the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. The 250-acre site produces about 1,200 vehicles a day and staffs over 4,000 employees. With over 4 million square feet of facility space, General Motors has made a second home in Arlington. General Motors also makes vehicles for other brands under their ownership in their Arlington Manufacturing Complex, including the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.
Those who are familiar with GM may not be surprised to know that these large SUVs are all built in the same place. They have similar basics to one another, after all, including their framing and drivetrains. They all belong to GM’s K2 platform, a set of vehicle architecture designed for durability, increased driving performance, strength against forces like collisions and heavy weight, and the versatility to construct various configurations with this vehicle template. They use high-strength but lightweight steel, the perfect material for large vehicles like SUVs because of its incredibly high strength-to-weight ratio. The K2 platform supports multiple engines for each of their sub-brands SUVs, including their V-8 gas engines and diesel engines. GM also produces many of their pickups with this same platform, but these are built in factories outside of Texas.
While General Motors engineers many of their vehicles with this same platform in Arlington, there are unique touches to each sub-brand’s models that make them all unique. For instance, the luxury interior trims and well-appointed seating make an Escalade distinguished, while Chevy’s Suburbans and Tahoes are known for their own distinct features. While there are similar elements, these are still very different vehicles.
The Suburban is Chevy’s large family SUV, a versatile passenger vehicle that’s designed to go anywhere, hold anything, and even tow a significant amount of weight. It’s not just for families, either. With every passing year, the Suburban has delivered increased fuel economy, driving performance, cargo capacity, tow capacity, and comfort. The latter may be what matters most to families.
Recent editions, like the 2021 Suburban, are tailor-made for superior entertainment, including Chevy’s infotainment system with available navigation and easy access to your favorite smartphone apps. Stream media to convenient screens located on the back of the two front-row seats, so kids and young-at-heart adult passengers can pass the time on long road trips. This is great for everyone in the vehicle.
Recent editions have also included the Z71 off-road package, which has added incredible, four-corner air ride suspension that stabilizes the cabin when taking on trails. The Z71 is also a starling difference from older Suburbans, which have had a more decidedly family-oriented look in the past (large, harmless, and relaxed). Its huge, blacked-out front grille, 20-inch all-terrain tires, and aerodynamic sidelines make this Suburban an aggressive-looking sports vehicle not to be toyed with. Even the new High Country edition, with its specially designed seats and high-performance EcoTec3 V8 engine, has a more intimidating exterior that still manages to exude luxury.
This isn’t just the smaller, lower-priced cousin of the Suburban. Chevy knows that the Tahoe is a Texas favorite, and for good reason. The most recent, redesigned SUV is actually larger than ever, with a 122.9 cubic feet of storage space and an available 420 horsepower, 460 lb-ft torque engine: a 6.2L V-8 with efficient, variable valve timing. Dynamic fuel management technology keeps the Tahoe’s former gas-guzzling in check, while the 10-speed automatic transmission feels smooth and highly responsive. Flex-Fuel technology in both the Suburban and Tahoe allow for the use of unleaded and E85 fuel, but the Tahoe’s more compact size means potentially lower fuel costs per month, even with its smaller tank.
Both the Tahoe and Suburban offer excellent interior tech, including power seats, parking assistance, performance tech like enhanced traction and stability control, safety features like automatic emergency braking, and Chevy’s suite of other safety tech. Multiple camera views stream right onto the center console’s entertainment device so you can keep an eye on your vehicle and anything you’re towing. With the release of the 2021 edition, both the Tahoe and Suburban also offer more passenger space than ever – especially in the Suburban’s third row, making them more comfortable for family driving. Of course, you don’t have to shuttle an entire family to take advantage of the extra cargo space; those who haul cargo on the go or take their sports equipment to the open road would love the newly expanded edition of the Chevy Tahoe.
Why in Texas?
There are several reasons why Chevy – via General Motors – decided to produce their large SUVs in the Lone Star State. It could be the lower corporate tax rate and absence of many state/local taxes in Texas, or it could be Chevy’s dedication to delivering some of its most popular vehicles to a state that’s in high demand for large, family-friendly SUVs. Why does this proximity matter to Texas drivers? It’s about more than appealing to that famous Texas pride, even if that’s enough to get some patriotic drivers shopping. But there are practical benefits for locals in search of a quality SUV.
First of all, these vehicles are designed with Texas drivers in mind, with features that are likely to be on a Texan’s shopping list. That means extra towing and payload capacity – a must for rural drivers – and features like fast-acting climate-controlled air conditioning and available ventilated seats to counteract that sweltering Texas summer heat. OnStar services like concierge, destination guidance, and roadside assistance are must-haves when traveling down long, long Texas highways and farm roads. It’s no small feat to drive over 8 hours without ever crossing a border, especially if you happen to find yourself on a stretch of empty road. When enabled, your Suburban or Tahoe has access to nationwide, responsive assistance with the push of a button, no internet access required.
Finally, forget import and shipping costs when you buy foreign vehicles. Your local Texas Chevy dealer is going to stay well-stocked with access to locally produced Chevy Suburbans and Tahoes. Should you choose to custom-build your SUV in a special trim with unique add-ons like optimized towing or off-road equipment, proximity to a Chevy production facility means you’ll likely get to drive home your special order in no time.
Ultimately, the 2021 Suburban and Tahoe offer more than just a distinct Southern spirit. Each has been redesigned to offer a better overall experience for drivers, not just when you hit the road but when you venture off-road as well. Superior fuel economy, better-than-ever safety features, more comfort, and a price that’s still highly competitive add up to two homegrown SUVs Texans will continue to love from a factory right in their backyard.