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AEV PREPARING FOR INCREASE IN CHEVROLET COLORADO ZR2 BISON PRODUCTION FOR 2020

The AEV Marketing Manager Says That The Upfitter Is Readying For A Slight Increase In ZR2 Bison Volume

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison
The Range-Topping Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.

Say you missed out on your chance to get a 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. You’re definitely not alone, as no orders were left on the table from dealers – and that technically made the $48,000+ midsize pickup truck “sold out” in a matter of a couple of months. But if this is you, we have some good news.

“Capacity will be increased for 2020,” said American Expedition Vehicles Marketing Manager Matt Feldermann to MC&T. “They are going to increase production. We’re not sure what the exact number is… but maybe 2,500.”

For those that don’t know, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison represents the most off-road capable midsize truck GM has ever offered, and it’s made possible through the collaboration and expertise of American Expedition Vehicles. Only the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon could arguably contend for the segment crown of off-road king. But where the Gladiator offers removable doors and electronically detachable front and rear sway bars, the ZR2 Bison delivers on boron steel armor plating underneath, and superior dynamic spool valve dampers from Multimatic.

AEV also plans on taking things a step further with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, likely offering higher clearance fenders for larger 35-inch tires for improved off-road performance. We’ll see the first examples of them at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

“We sold 2,000 units last year. We sold every one before the first one was even delivered,” said Feldermann. The 2019 model year Colorado ZR2 Bison debuted at the tail end of the 2018 calendar year, and therefore had a shortened production timeline. Demand nevertheless exceeded supply, but production volume for the Bison is still expected to be modest going forward.

“If it was up to me, I’d very cautious with how far you’d increase Bison volume… You wouldn’t want to make the jump to, say, 6,000 units and get real aggressive because the last thing you want is to have half of them unsold at the end of the model year, and then next year the dealers won’t want one,” explained Feldermann. The low production volume may be part of the Bison’s appeal, as well.

“You want the vehicle to be hard enough to get, but not so hard that the people are going to have to pay markups for it. They’re not at every dealership but if you looked a little bit you could find one,” he said.

Despite the fact that American Expedition Vehicles has its own facilities, Feldermann notes that the company hands off final assembly of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison to General Motors.

“We don’t build any of them. We produce the parts and assemble them to the point where GM requires us to assemble them, and we ship them to the plant… it’s all about the efficiency so they tell us exactly how they want it.”

The Chevrolet Colorado is expected to go relatively unchanged for the 2020 model year, with a slight facelift happening for the 2021 model year. The lifecycle of both the current-generation 31XX Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks will end around 2023, with the next-generation Colorado and Canyon emerging on the 31XX-2 platform, in lieu of the furloughed 32XX platform. It currently remains unclear if GM and AEV will offer a new Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison when the time comes.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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