General Motors expects to sell more of its next-generation large pickups in the more expensive crew-cab body style and with more options, giving the auto maker the flexibility to keep the base price of the ’14 Chevrolet Silverado unchanged from the current model.

“Our mix will move more to crew cabs,” says Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer-fullsize trucks. “That is the trend in the marketplace. We’ll move along with that.”

GM trails cross-town rival Ford in large-pickup pricing. Much of the gap comes from the age of the current Silverado and GMC Sierra, which were last redesigned in 2006 as ’07 models while the F-150 was redone in 2008 as an ’09 model.

The F-150 then added four new engines in ’11 and refreshed overall styling and added a Limited model for ’13.

Ford’s share of the large-pickup segment rose last year to 37.6% from 37.3%, according to WardsAuto data, while GM’s slipped to 37.2% from 39.6%.

The new Silverado and Sierra pickups coming later this spring were redesigned “from hood to hitch,” Luke says, including all-new small-block V-8 engines in 5.3L and 6.2L displacements. A new 4.3L V-6 also will be available. Each engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

But instead of raising the sticker on the Silverado as widely expected – the entry-level Sierra will cost $500 more – GM will keep the regular-cab model at $24,585. Crew-cab models stay at $32,710 and double cabs remain $28,610.

“Down the road it is going to translate into pretty good share performance,” says Ken Bakowski, marketing manager-Sierra.

Luke expects the mix of crew-cab sales to rise to 65% or more from roughly 60% today to push up average transaction prices and make the new Silverado and Sierra more profitable. Newly available options, such as lane-departure warning, also will drive up ATPs.

Three-of-four Silverado and Sierra buyers will go for the 5.3L V-8, the auto maker predicts, and GM touts class-leading fuel economy of 23 mpg (10.2 L/100 km) for 2-wheel-drive models in the highway cycle and 22 mpg (10.7 L/100 km) for 4-wheel-drive variants.

GM also claims a class-leading towing capacity of 10,200 lbs. (4,443 kg) on models equipped with a towing package.

Luke admits the new Silverado and Sierra trail the F-150 in peak power.

The F-150 with a 3.5L turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 makes 365 hp and 420 lb.-ft. (570 Nm) of torque, while the 5.3L V-8 in GM’s pickups generate 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. (518 Nm) of torque.

But the GM engines are naturally aspirated, Luke says, giving the Silverado and Sierra an edge in fuel economy while towing and hauling. The engines also deliver 300 lb.-ft. (406 Nm) of torque between 2,000 and 5,600 rpm, which is on par with EcoBoost.

“All things considered, our approach is a better one,” he says.

Luke says to expect future powertrain developments, building on staple technologies such as cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing and new items such as gasoline direct injection and an advanced combustion system.

He discounts the attraction among truck buyers for automatic transmissions with an increased number of gears, such as the Ram 1500’s 8-speed gearbox, but GM has one coming to market. Luke also hints a light-duty diesel could be in the cards for the new pickups.

jamend@wardsauto.com