It's not just the military that relies on GM Defense for vehicles. Other government departments are also customers of the GM division responsible for armored vehicles and various military products. Those agencies include the Department of State, which has just placed a new order for armored SUVs.
The order consists of a 10-year contract for the supply of an indefinite number of vehicles, capped at a maximum spend of $300 million. The specific vehicle ordered is an armored heavy-duty Chevrolet Suburban to be used in fleets for the department's security service.
GM Defense has been supplying the department with vehicles for a number of years. The latest armored Suburban is a next-generation design that was delivered in prototype form to the department for testing purposes in 2021.
Although it resembles a conventional Suburban from the outside, the vehicle has been developed from the ground up for its armored vehicle mission. One of the key differences is the use of a unique body-on-frame platform that supports the heavier weight of the vehicle, as well as offers the option for battery- and even hydrogen-electric powertrains as an alternative to the standard gas powertrains. The suspension is also unique to the vehicle.
One of the reasons that GM Defense was picked for the contract is the company's ability to add all of the vehicle's unique features to the original design and manufacturing process, as opposed to an aftermarket solution where a vehicle needs to be torn down and rebuilt. According to GM Defense, this allows it to deliver improved vehicle performance and faster delivery times. The vehicles also come with a full manufacturer's warranty.
Given the advantages, it's likely GM Defense will win contracts for the vehicle from other government departments. The company's head, Steve duMont, said the vehicles are also available for allied defense and security customers around the world.
An updated version of the civilian Suburban is also on its way. Revealed on Wednesday, the updated Suburban is due as a 2025 model and will bring revised styling, new technology in the cabin, and a more powerful diesel engine. An updated version of the smaller Tahoe will also go on sale at the same time.