General Motors Speciality Vehicles (GMSV) has notched up 5000 Chevrolet Silverado right-hand drive conversions for Australian and New Zealand buyers after two years – and expects a “significant increase” in throughput going forward as demand for American pickups explodes.
The GM division responsible for selling the Silverado V8 locally recently opened a new brand-specific remanufacturing facility in the Melbourne industrial suburb of Dandenong, away from the existing site in Clayton where Ram Trucks are also switched to RHD.
The new site is still operated with Walkinshaw Group, responsible for the re-engineering process which involves a number of new parts, and is designed to be equal to OEM factory quality – meaning the way the Silverados arrived in left-hand drive from from the ‘States.
GMSV says the new facility means a larger dedicated GMSV area, and “is already delivering a more seamless operation”, having kicked off production in August.
“It goes to show there is considerable desire amongst enthusiasts for the latest in a V8-powered full-size pick-up truck with impressive towing ability and passenger comfort,” said GMSV Director Joanne Stogiannis.
“… The new dedicated remanufacturing facility will enable improved flexibility and capacity, with a significant increase in the number of Silverados coming off the line.
“It’s particularly timely to have this new facility up and running as we recently announced Australia and New Zealand will be receiving a new MY23 Silverado 1500 range due mid-2023, including Chevrolet’s new flagship off-road truck, the first-ever Silverado ZR2.
“We are confident that we will be in a position to better cater for the anticipated demand associated with the launch of these new Silverado 1500’s and the ever-popular Silverado HD.”
Sales of full-size American trucks converted locally to RHD in lieu of factory offerings are big business. Ram Trucks (run by Ateco and converted by Walkinshaw, the latter part a la GMSV) has sold 4810 of its big rigs this year in Australia, and GMSV has sold 1778 units.
Walkinshaw is also involved in Toyota Australia’s plan to sell locally re-engineered Tundras here in the near future.
Not one to miss out on a burgeoning market with high profit margins, Ford is also bringing locally converted F-150s here next year in partnership with RMA Automotive at a facility in Mickleham, Victoria.
Australians are simply head-over-heels in love with these heavy haulers whether they really need them, or just want them.