Michigan-based American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) have become one of the best known and most respected names in the off-road business, with fully built conversions and a multitude of off-road parts available to enthusiasts. Given their successes, we always look forward to what they have coming next, and the Truck Show Podcast just had AEV’s Matt Felderman to ask that very question. You can listen to the whole podcast here, although perhaps the most interesting segment of the show involves the discussion of a potential Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Bison, which would in theory be a larger version of the currently popular Colorado ZR2 Bison.
One of AEV’s most interesting product offerings is the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, which is an Colorado ZR2 sold through Chevy with bona fide AEV parts, straight from the factory. It’s not too often you see an OEM sell a vehicle upgraded by an aftermarket upfitter, and AEV said it’s been a huge success for the company, and that it “yields great results.” In fact, AEV and Chevrolet had to boost Colorado ZR2 Bison production to meet demand, as MC&T reported back in 2019.
With AEV learning so much from the Colorado programs, you’d be forgiven for thinking the company’s already working on a Silverado collaboration and performance parts, but Felderman said, “it’s something right now that we’re not actively spending time on.” Even with a heavily updated Chevrolet Silverado, including a ZR2 model coming next year, AEV is sticking to what they know.
“We’re not one to really get too far ahead of ourselves. Right now, honestly, before we expand with anything new, we have so much we want to see through, whether it’s new suspension variants for the Jeeps, stuff for the Rams or Colorados,” he said. “[going into another full size] it’s not to say that its something we wouldn’t want to do, but it’s something right now that we’re not actively spending time on.”
Felderman previously told MC&T that the business case for AEV upfitting a full-size half-ton truck isn’t as obvious as you’d think. Because while half-ton trucks are the highest selling, most accessorized vehicles in America, their buyers rarely venture into the overlanding/rock crawling space that AEV specializes in, which prefer either midsize trucks like the Jeep Gladiator and Chevrolet Colorado, or Class 2b/3 bruisers like the Ram HD.
Felderman also said the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic was pretty devastating to American Expedition Vehicles, as most of the company’s supply chain is not only US-based, but Michigan-based. When lockdowns hit, most of Michigan’s factories closed. But interestingly, AEV is doing much better now thanks to its US-based supply chain, as they don’t have to negotiate with international supplier troubles. Once factories reopened in the early summer last year, AEV was in a decent spot.
AEV, then, is sticking to what they’re currently scaled to achieve before expanding into new product segments. They like being able to pick and choose their platforms and projects, from the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison to the Ram Prospector and numerous Jeep Wrangler parts in between. When the time is right to work on a new vehicle, that’s when they’ll do it.