General Motors hasn’t let some controversial comments about the Confederate flag from Kid Rock stop it from slapping the star’s name on a special edition of a heavy-duty Silverado on display at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Kid Rock collaborated with Chevrolet to design a customized 2016 Silverado 3500HD “dually” celebrating freedom and honoring American workers, according to Jim Campbell, GM vice president of performance products, who noted that it isn’t the first time Chevy has used Kid Rock to help advertise a product.
“We’ve used his music in our ads,” he said, adding that the singer was born and raised in the Detroit suburbs and is considered something of an icon.
The truck was introduced this week in Las Vegas, where it joined other personalized Chevy truck concepts designed to showcase the depth and breadth of the brand’s pickup truck line-up.
Not only did the star design the vehicle, but also he toured the Silverado HD assembly plant in Flint, Mich., to meet with the members of UAW Local 598, who built the truck, before driving it to Chevrolet’s design studio to share his ideas for its customization.
“The Flint plant – and everyone on the line – is the backbone of America,” he said. “I wanted the design for the truck to be bold, but with features and elements that wouldn’t be out of reach for working-class guys.”
As a result, his Silverado features several enhancements, including a custom chrome grille with the Born Free logo and an enlarged Chevy Bowtie emblem, chrome exhaust stacks and patriotic graphics that flow across the body sides.
A unique execution of the patriotic motif was an idea he expressed at the start of the project.
“With Kid Rock’s input, we came up with a chrome-like silver-metallic design that conveys an industrial, made-in-Detroit aesthetic that totally complements the other bold elements of the truck,” said Todd Parker, design director, Chevrolet Accessories.
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Additional exterior features include black metallic-flecked paint, 22-inch custom chrome wheels, tinted windows, chrome assist steps and a spray-in bedliner.
The interior features Sky Cool Gray leather-appointed seats with metallic-appearing inserts patterned after acid-wash jeans. It also includes black carpeted floor liners and a blacked-out instrument panel with silver trim, Made in Detroit-logo sill plates and glovebox emblem, and a custom Kicker® sound system.
With the four-wheel-drive dually configuration, it offers a class-leading maximum conventional trailering rating of 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) and 22,600 pounds (10,251 kg) with a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch. Features such as integrated cruise control, powertrain grade braking and diesel exhaust braking enhance control and confidence when trailering.
New for the 2016 Silverado HD is Digital Steering Assist power steering on select double cab and crew cab models, which make hauling and trailering easier with electronic controls that enhance road holding and stability on the highway.
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“Visiting the Silverado factory was one of the coolest and most meaningful things I’ve done,” said Kid Rock. “This truck is all about celebrating the people who build it and the freedom it enables.”
Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie and whose father is a well-known Detroit area car dealer, was even honored by the Detroit Branch of the NAACP four years ago for his contributions to the Detroit community.
Nevertheless, the Confederate Flag – a controversial symbol linked to racism and slavery – was used by the singer in some of his on stage-appearances. Fans also often wave confederate flags at his concerts, which drew criticism during last summer’s debate over the symbolism of the flag. The flag was removed from public places across the South after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.
“We had no reason to back away from our relationship with Kid Rock as he has clearly stated that the Confederate flag has not been used during a performance in more than five years and all of our collaborations with him – including the Silverado 3500HD – have featured the American Flag,” said GM spokesman Randy Fox.
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Chevrolet and Kid Rock have successfully collaborated on several initiatives this year that have celebrated our armed forces, the hard working men and women in our plants and our home city of Detroit, he said.