Chevy eyes Ford F-150 niche model success, including Raptor
A couple of weeks ago, Chevrolet rolled out its highfalutin’ High Country trim (pictured above) for the 2014 Silverado, a clear indicator that parent General Motors is (finally) prepared to better acknowledge that America’s full-size pickup segment is mushrooming in new and profitable ways. And Chevy isn’t done expanding its new truck’s portfolio, according to Edmunds – it’s keeping a ready eye on Ford’s successful strategy with its F-150, which has resulted in everything from a high-performance off-roader (SVT Raptor) to a co-branded lifestyle model (Harley-Davidson).
Edmunds quotes Chris Hilts, GM’s manager of creative design for its full-size truck interiors as saying “… our leadership is very aware of not only the (Ford) Harley-Davidson pickup, but also the Raptor. There are a lot of halo vehicles at Ford. They do sell well and they do set a tone for the vehicle. We definitely are looking into that.”
Although Edmunds doesn’t say so, GM execs are probably keeping tabs on their Auburn Hills rival, too – Chrysler has done a pretty swift trade in locally minded co-branded pickups like its Ram 1500 Red Wings Edition, a package sold in Detroit-area dealers for fans of the city’s NHL franchise. In fact, it’s done well enough that the company is understood to be looking at other such opportunities. In addition, Chrysler also offers dealer-installed Ram Runner conversion kits to turn its 1500 pickup into a desert brawler, and it’s said to be contemplating a high-performance production off-road model.
So, does all of this mean that we can look forward to a super Silverado Raptor rival? Well, we’d temper expectations on that one – Chevy doesn’t have an in-house skunkworks to develop smaller-volume performance products like Ford’s SVT or Chrysler’s SRT, and we haven’t seen any mules or prototypes to suggest such a model is in the works. Of course, with the High Country, GM has shown that it won’t let GMC be the only brand to benefit from high-dollar ‘statement’ trucks anymore, so perhaps one could show up down the line. In the meantime, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a co-branded truck or two.
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