Chevrolet insists that the the Silverado ZR2 has something that its main competitors do not. It might not be 35-inch tires, forced induction, or long-travel shocks, but the ZR2 does deliver on an arguably more crucial element: balance.
“It’s all about balance… if you look at the ZR2 we’re really in a segment of our own,” said Sean Cratty, Silverado Product Manager in an interview with MC&T. “A lot of the customers we’re going for, for the most part… it’s the balance of off-road and on-road. I think that’s what we tried to hit.”
While the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram TRX are multi-role trucks in their own right, the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 leads both of them in payload and towing, while a true front locking rear differential allows the truck to claw its way up a rutted slope like it’s nothing. Compared to the Ram and Ford, you can also run a ZR2 through an automated carwash without much issue. No “Raptor disclaimer” equivalent sign here.
“To that degree, I don’t really view the Ford F-150 Raptor and Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 as direct competitors in many ways,” said Cratty. “I think we have a more on-road type experience that’s also given. Which is also where our customers are coming from.”
Still, the off-road truck arena doesn’t have that many serious contenders, and it’s likely that customers will be comparing and cross-shopping Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 and Ford F-150 Raptor trucks, despite fierce brand loyalty in the segment.
“There’s going to be customer overlap… I think frankly our target customer is a mix of both (Chevrolet Silverado and F-150 Raptor customers), and if you look at the venn diagram we probably have a shift there. But I think the overlap is pretty significant.”
ZR2 Pricing Aims To Be A Value
The elephant in the room for all of these full-size performance is of course the price. As of this writing, the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 asks for $69,695 USD, plus an inflated $1,795 destination charge. The Ford F-150 Raptor, which is more powerful, has more tire, and more shock travel, starts at $69,525, plus another $1,795 in destination fees.
“With Silverado ZR2 (pricing)…that’s all-in. When you look at a Raptor, with the options you get, you’re going to start seeing $7,000 above just the base, and you’ll see less of that on our side,” said Cratty, emphasizing that the interior of the base ZR2 comes better equipped than the base Raptor. Indeed, it starts to get close to the $80,000 mark when optioning up an F-150 Raptor to get the interior to have things like a premium audio system, a wireless charging mat, satellite radio, and more. That’s not to say anything of other upgrades like the 37-inch tire package.
“I think we can steal customers just on (a premium interior),” said Scott Janson, Engineering Group Manager – Chevrolet Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports. “Where they’re like: ‘I only need one truck, I don’t need this $90,000 off-road truck and then have a daily driver. I think we’ll see that happen over the next couple of years.”
The Near Future Of The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2
With current market conditions, Chevrolet is also in no hurry to bite off more than it can chew with Silverado ZR2 demand.
“We’ve got two plants today, Fort Wayne and Silao, and we’re at max capacity, and we’re gonna sell every unit, and our days of supply is extremely low,” said Janson. “So there is no conquest need in the current environment, but on a year by year basis, we’re evaluating that.”
To that end, Chevy seems more keen on keeping existing customers happy with the bandwidth of various off-road Silverado packages.
“We’re trying to cast a net to say ‘we want to work in the off-road space, we know there are people that are gonna go to Raptor that might evaluate more options and get the interior at the price point that we’re hitting. There’s definitely a conquest aspect to it, but at the same time we’re always saying ‘hey, there are people that are in an LT Trail Boss or a Custom Trail Boss, and they want a step up internally, so we want to provide that, too.”