Several clues now pointing to a GM competitor to Ford's Raptor.
January 27, 2013
By: Nick Saporito
As soon as General Motors took the wraps off their all-new 2014 full-size trucks, questions immediately began to surface. Questions such as, “Where’s the turbocharged engine?” and “Where’s your F-150 Raptor competitor?” were asked. While GM is avoiding answering any of said questions directly, a recent video and trademark registration suggests a subliminal answer to the latter question about an off-road truck.
Nearly two weeks ago Chevrolet released several videos documenting the development of the 2014 Silverado, including one outlining testing the truck’s off-road capability.
While the brief video is attempting to demonstrate how the company tested the truck’s frame mounts, at the seven second mark of the video there is something interesting. The truck undergoing off-road testing is wearing bead-lock wheels, an option that is not going to be offered on the standard Silverado 1500. It’s also worth noting that the truck is being tested at a portion of GM’s proving ground that was used for Hummer testing.
For those unaware, bead-lock wheels are for the hard-core off-roader. Intended to combine with high traction tires, bead-locks do what their name implies: lock the bead of the tire to the wheel to prevent slippage, particularly when tire pressure has been reduced to gain more surface area.
For 2013 model year, Ford began offering bead-lock wheels as an option on the F-150 SVT Raptor, the company’s successful off-road truck.
While testing the new truck with bead-lock wheels is not proof that an off-road truck is in the works, it certainly bodes well for the idea for the fact that the base Silverado has been engineered with an apparent strong focus on off-roading. Most Silverado 1500 owners are probably not very likely to use bead-lock wheels.
In addition to the testing video, last August GM filed for the trademark “ZR2” to use on vehicle decals. The trademark registration was just approved last week.
The ZR2 name traces its roots back to 1994 when Chevrolet released ZR2 off-road versions of the S-10 and Blazer. The moniker has gained an enthusiast following since, with several ZR2 clubs in existence around the U.S.
Back in 2009 Chevrolet also showed a Silverado ZR2 concept truck at the SEMA aftermarket show. The truck was clearly a response to Ford’s SVT Raptor, though a production version has yet to come to fruition.
Adding fuel the speculation fire are several interviews with executive chief engineer of GM trucks, Jeff Luke. Luke has been quoted in multiple interviews, including one with Pickuptrucks.com where inquiries into more models, including a Raptor competitor, have been met with, “Stay tuned.”
GMI sources have also suggested GM’s answer to the SVT Raptor is in the works. Unfortunately vehicles that do not have a unique designation or new engine are oftentimes difficult to track and confirm with internal sources. Regardless, several signs are now pointing in the direction of an off-road derivative of GM’s new trucks.