It’s been a pretty grim November and December over at GM. First, GM announced 15,000 layoffs, the death of three car lines and the closure of three factories. Now, it shows the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD and the world explodes.
This is an important vehicle for Chevrolet. The Silverado is GM’s single most popular vehicle. The HD — the heavy duty 3/4-ton and 1-ton version — isn’t broken out on sales volume charts. It’s lumped in with the half-ton Silverado, but every single month so far in 2018, Chevrolet has sold between 40,000 and 50,000 of these trucks.
The Silverado HD is a massive profit machine. Contractors and tradesmen buy the 2500 and 3500 trucks for all kinds of work duties, from utility trucks to flatbed wreckers, but Joe Middle Management likes to signal that back in high school, he once had a job that required getting his hands dirty, too. As a result, Chevrolet can charge upwards of $70,000 for Cowboy Cadillac versions of the Silverado HD with all the comforts of a small limousine. The last Silverado HD we drove — with cloth seats, BTW — was $62,000.
So it’s important that Chevrolet gets it right. When Chevy pulled the wraps off of this edition, though, the gasp was audible.
For the last few days, the internet has been ON FIRE with photoshops, memes, comments and gifs devoted to the collective opinion of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD’s styling.
It’s too bad, because with 910-ft.lbs. of torque out of a new available diesel engine, the Silverado HD has a lot going for it, but when the reaction is this instant, it overshadows the good news:
The comments on every single automotive Facebook page we looked at were overwhelmingly similar:
Those are at general car pages, though, with tons of people who hate trucks and post negative comments about everything.
What about the fanboys at the Chevy-specific Facebook pages like Fullsize Chevy Trucks?
Interestingly, some of the photoshops that have come up in reaction to the new design have gotten a better reaction:
This one’s kind of interesting because it blends the current Silverado with the GMT400 face from the 1988 redesign. Which is kind of funny because when that truck debuted, it was pretty polarizing, too, after the timeless design of the Squarebody 1973 to 1987 trucks.
The best photoshop, and perhaps the one that’s most hopeful for Chevrolet, is this one. It takes what’s there and moves it around a little bit to de-emphasize that huge Elvis Presley belt of chrome that cuts through the middle of the grille, and moves the headlights up to where they should be:
It’s still big and bold, but at least the headlights look like they’re in a place where headlights typically should be.
It’s tough to determine whether a controversial redesign like this, plus the addition of a four-cylinder turbo in the Silverado 1500 is going to have a direct impact on sales. As previous generations of popular trucks have been phased out, Chevrolet has offered “Classic” versions of the old bodystyle for a year while the buying public gets used to the revamp. This truck is a 2020 model, so they won’t go on sale for a while. Maybe time is enough to get the public used to the HD’s new face.
And when it gets right down to it, ugly vehicles get popular if they work. With 910-lb.ft. of torque out of that Duramax Diesel, Chevy’s might be headed down the right road. But over at Ford, the Powerstroke has 935-lb.ft., and at RAM, the Cummins delivers 930-lb.ft.
2019 and 2020 are going to be interesting times for Chevrolet.