GM’s Latest Weapon in Pickup Truck Wars: Carbon Fiber

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Composite is stronger and lighter than steel or aluminum, but also much costlier

General Motors Co. plans to use costly but lightweight carbon fiber to make the beds on premium versions of large pickup trucks, according to people familiar with the strategy, as the auto maker aims to stay competitive in the crucial category while also satisfying tightening fuel-economy standards.

The change, which the people say is expected to be implemented within two years, is likely to increase the cost of the pickups, testing GM’s ability to charge a hefty premium.