At almost P18-M each to develop and build, these diplomatic Suburbans better be damn safe

We reckon they’ll do fine
by Drei Laurel | Sep 16, 2021
PHOTO: GM Defense

There’s a reason the Chevrolet Suburban is a constant presence in film and television, often seen trying to keep VIPs in one piece from point A to B: the SUV has a reputation for being a go-to security vehicle in real life, too.

Case in point? General Motors (GM) has just bagged a $36.4 million (P1.8 billion) contract with the US Department of State to develop and build heavy-duty Suburbans specifically for use by the government’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).

“$36.4 million, huh? How many SUVs does the Diplomatic Security Service need?” The answer? No, not 100. Hell, not even a couple of dozen units. Try just 10.

Now, you might be thinking that these units will be armored in gold, or that the government threw money at GM Defense to build 10 Suburbans that combine to transform into a towering Kaiju-fighting robot. Neither is correct.

These unique Suburbans will feature a purpose-built body-on-frame chassis and suspension and will come with a greater payload capacity and weight. GM Defense says it will have to use “advanced manufacturing tools and techniques” to support the low-quantity order, too. Few other details regarding these vehicles were provided.

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Delivery is set to begin sometime next year, with the contract scheduled to be completed in May 2023. Following this initial purchase, the company says it is expecting another deal for 200 of these babies annually for the following nine years.

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“The Chevrolet Suburban has been an iconic name in commercial transportation since 1935,” Steve duMont, president of GM Defense, said in a statement.

“Our development contract win speaks to our long-standing legacy of exceeding transportation capabilities and our new, HD Suburban will deliver government-specific advanced mobility solutions to meet the needs of DSS.”

So, the cost of the initial contract initially translates to about $3.6 million a unit. We reckon GM Defense is crossing its fingers hard that the government stays true to its follow-up order. How safe do you think these units are?

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PHOTO: GM Defense
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