Chevrolet unveiled a Colorado concept truck called the ZR2 AEV, designed to travel off-grid in the wilderness for days at a time.
The automaker revealed the truck – developed jointly with off-road manufacturer American Expedition Vehicles – at the 2017 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, or SEMA, show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
“Our collaboration taught us that Colorado makes a great platform for building an off-road truck that can take you as far out as you want to go, safely,” said Dave Harriton, AEV’s founder.
The ZR2 AEV concept has unique features such as AEV front and rear off-road bumpers, complete underbody skid protection, an expedition bed rack, high clearance fender flares, a snorkel and 35-inch BF Goodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain tires to allow it to go off-grid reliably.
Chevrolet is using the concept to draw attention to the Colorado.
Since its 2014 introduction, the mid-size pickup truck has sold 250,000 units in the U.S. and has become a key player in the truck strategy of General Motors, which owns the Chevrolet brand.
It has sold about 83,000 units through the first nine months of this year for a 25 percent share of the mid-size pickup truck market, according to industry research firm Autodata Corp. Toyota’s Tacoma leads the segment with a 44 percent share.
GM is pitching its so-called three-class truck line, with offerings in the mid-size, full-size and heavy-duty pickup segments.
The Colorado has become a popular truck model in urban areas. Los Angeles is its biggest market, said Sandor Pizar, who heads Chevy truck marketing. California logs more Colorado sales than any state, including truck hungry Texas, he said.
About 10 percent of Colorado sales are of its higher priced ZR2 performance off-road variant, and about a quarter of those buyers opt for the diesel engine, a move that can send the price of the truck well into the upper $40,000 range.
But buyers don’t appear to be balking. Pizar said there’s only a 26-day turn between when the ZR2 leaves the factory and the sale.
Other manufacturers are looking to enter the mid-size truck market. Ford Motor Co. is expected to reintroduce its Ranger to the U.S. at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Jeeps also plans a mid-size pickup.
But the market has stalled. Total U.S. mid-size truck sales rose only 1 percent to 335,507 units through the first nine months of this year. Both GMC’s Canyon, a sister truck to the Colorado, and Nissan’s Frontier have experienced double-digit percentage sales declines.