The hardcore off-roader quickly sold out for 2019. Not everyone was happy.
If you're looking for the baddest, most hardcore off-road midsize pickup truck directly from the factory, there's currently just one place to go: a Chevrolet dealership. Last year, the automaker teamed up with off-road aftermarket tuner American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) to build the Colorado ZR2 Bison.
It started off as a regular Colorado ZR2 but AEV added a ton of off-road goodies, including five skid plates, steel front and rear bumpers, and ZR2 Bison-specific 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac off-road rubber. The standard ZR2's 2.8-liter turbo diesel with 186 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque provides plenty of performance is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. It's the complete off-road package. The ting is, the $48,000+ truck sold out in only a few months' time.
Fortunately, Muscle Cars and Trucks recently spoke to AEV Marketing Manager Matt Feldermann who confirmed that "capacity will be increased for 2020. They are going to increase production. We're not sure what the exact number is… but maybe 2,500." Last year, a total of 2,000 examples were sold "before the first one was even delivered," Feldermann confirmed. It should be noted that the Colorado ZR2 Bison debuted at the very end of 2018 and thus had a shorter production year, and yet demand still far exceeded supply. Both Chevy and AEV took note. However, don't start thinking this Jeep Gladiator Rubicon alternative (of sorts) is about to become a mainstream fixture. It's not.
"If it was up to me, I'd be very cautious with how far you'd increase Bison volume," Feldermann explained. "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."
Although AEV builds the truck's unique aftermarket road accessories, Chevrolet completes final assembly at its own facility. "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."
Chevy will soon be telling AEV exactly how many components will be needed for model year 2020, and assuming this report is correct, it'll be more than last year.