DETROIT -- As the current-generation Chevrolet Silverado approaches middle age, Chevy's marketers are borrowing a page from the performance division to sustain buzz: special editions.
Racing seats, grippier tires and bolder grilles have long been packaged to create niche versions of Corvettes and Camaros. Now Chevy is applying the concept to its profit-raking pickups in the form of roll bars, all-terrain assist steps and camouflage paint jobs.
Last year, Chevy introduced its Midnight special-edition Silverado 1500 with blacked-out everything: wheels, bumpers, grille, even the bowtie. More than 6,000 copies sold out within a few months, prompting Chevy to add similar versions for its Colorado midsize pickup and Silverado 2500 Heavy Duty for the 2016 model year. They join a growing list of special-edition models with names such as Realtree, Rally and Special Ops, with more on the way.
Chevy's quick-hit approach is an effort to counter rivals Ram and Ford, which have offered a wider array of specialty pickups. And it reflects GM's goal of continuously updating its top-selling U.S. vehicle throughout its life cycle, an effort that executives acknowledge was lacking with the last-generation Silverado.