LOS ANGELES -- Before the wraps even came off the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado at the auto show here last week, Chevy dealers were in the factory's ear about a future off-road variant.
"The dealers already have been asking for an off-road model," Jeff Luke, General Motors' top truck engineer, said here last week. "We're considering it."
From the mid-1990s until around 2003, GM sold all-terrain versions of the Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma pickups, dubbed ZR2. The models had higher ground clearance, stronger shocks, beefier axles and other enhancements for off-roading.
The '15 Colorado will be launched in the third quarter of next year with a Z71 model that has bigger wheels and some off-road design elements, "but it's not quite" a full all-terrain model, GM North America President Mark Reuss said. He said an off-road variant "absolutely" is on the table.
"I think there's all kinds of opportunity for accessorization and powertrain variants in a platform like this," Reuss said. "There's a lot of things you can do here that you can't do in a full-sized truck."
For example, Chevy likely pleased many truck enthusiasts with a belated confirmation that it will offer a manual transmission, though only on the base extended-cab, two-wheel-drive WT model. GM's original press materials referred only to an automatic tranny.
"I'm making a bet on this," Reuss said of the stick shift. "If you look at the past data, it's probably not a financially sound decision. But we're creating something here that hasn't been created before. So we're going to take some risks."