This past December, General Motors Holden confirmed that the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car is coming to Australia and New Zealand as a factory-backed product (an open secret for months), but the surprise was that the Silverado 4x4 pickup will be joining it.
HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) will be responsible for the RHD conversion and compliance of both models, with the business best known for high-performance Commodore conversions to eventually undertake all conversions on GM vehicles not offered here in factory RHD form.
Major Move Forward
Holden’s Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said the new agreement was a pivotal step forward for both companies.
“For a number of years, we’ve been talking about bringing customers the best vehicles from around the GM world - we’re proud to announce the next step in that strategy.
“Our partnership with HSV, utilising their world-class engineering and design capabilities, means we’re able to work together to bring the best-selling Chevrolet Silverado to customers in Australia and New Zealand.”
HSV Managing Director Tim Jackson added: “This marks a new era for HSV and Holden and I hope our customers are as excited as we are. HSV is moving beyond simply ‘hotting up’ existing models, and customers will see two product streams from HSV over the next few years.”
Those streams are the RHD conversion of selected GM product, and the enhancement of vehicles already offered here in Holden-badged, RHD form.
When it arrives in Australia, Holden says the Silverado will retain its Chevy identity, marking the first time that Chevrolet-badged vehicles have been officially imported and sold by GMH since the 1970s: LUV utes (a rebadged Isuzu) and larger C-Series trucks were amongst the last Chevys to be imported and sold in Australia.
In accordance with this, HSV dealers will now carry the Chevrolet name and famous ‘bowtie’ logo in their signage and branding.
No Performance Upgrades. Yet.
“The availability of the Chevrolet Silverado range opens up some wonderful new opportunities for our business in a market segment whose potential is relatively un-tapped, and we believe has high growth potential,” HSV’s Jackson said.
“Whether it be the farming or mining sectors, those who need to pull a large caravan or horse float or simply those who want awesome towing and load carrying capability, Silverado is the pinnacle of the GM range.”
However, the vehicles in this initial agreement will only be converted by HSV; no enhancements to areas like the drivetrain, braking or suspension will be undertaken.
“Some of our traditional customers will expect more power,” said Jackson. “If the opportunities present themselves, we will look at powertrain enhancements where it makes sense.”
The Silverado arrives at the very top end of the booming Australian dual cab ute market and will compete directly against the Ram trucks currently available through American Special Vehicles, as well as large Ford F-Series pickups and similar vehicles from specialist importers.
All locally-released Silverados will be powered by a Duramax 6.6-litre turbo-diesel V8 producing 332kW and 1234Nm, matched to an Allison 1000 6-speed auto transmission.
Four-wheel drive and an auto locking rear diff will be standard across the range, with payload ratings up to 1,848kg and towing capacities up to 6.1 tonne.
The five-model Silverado range covers the following:
- 2500HD WT
- 2500HD LTZ
- 2500HD LTZ “Midnight” Edition
- 2500HD LTZ “Custom Sport” Edition
- 3500HD LTZ
The 3500HD LTZ will be the first HSV-converted Silverado to be released, in late Q2, followed by the 2500HD variants. Pricing has yet to be revealed.