Interview with Chevrolet Silverado Marketing Director Rick Scheidt
has been the marketing director for Chevrolets Silverado full-size
pickup since Jan. 1, 1999. He had previously served as brand manager for
Metro, Prizm and Tracker since 1996.
As a brand
manager, Scheidt is responsible for creating the market presence of his
product, developing advertising and establishing price positioning.
a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University
of Michigan in 1976, a masters degree in industrial engineering from U
of M in 1979 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1981.
joined Chevrolet in 1981 as the C/K Pickup product planner. He moved to
GM Truck & Bus in 1984 as light truck product planning manager, was
promoted to director of product planning in 1987, director of business
and product planning in 1989, and director of material and production
control at the Pontiac East Assembly Plant in 1990. Scheidt moved to North
American Export -- Sales in 1991 as general director of marketing and
product planning, then moved to NAO in 1994 as director of product portfolio
planning. In September 1995 he was named Mid/Lux alliance planning director
at NAO, the position he held until being named a Chevrolet brand manager
in October 1996.
the opportunity to interview Rick immediately after the press introduction
for the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado SS.
Rick, we are standing here next to the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado SS. Can
you take us on a walk around of the truck and show us some highlights?
Absolutely, we're are using the Silverado SS as a launching point for
some more Chevrolet SS vehicles that will follow. Now, it's kind of interesting
that we are rejuvenating the [SS heritage] starting with a truck. It reflects
where the market has been here lately.
here on the front of the truck and we are looking at the new 2003 front
end but it's been modified here for the SS with unique ground effects.
We have lowered the vehicle in terms of suspension and we are looking
at 20-inch wheels and the appropriate tires. We are also looking at a
6.0-liter engine, the Vortec 6000 with 340 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque.
vehicle we are looking at SS embroidered headrests, white instruments
on the IP and, of course, it goes without saying we are looking here at
an extended cab model, which we really think is the direction of full
size trucks. It's the way things have been going. Peoples' lifestyles
demand that they carry more than two people or two people and all of their
that we have hit at a great sweet spot in the market. It's what we call
attainable aspiration that we think the Chevy truck customer can afford.
all wheel drive which we think is a great way to get that 340 horsepower
to the ground in a way that I think our buyers are going to be very pleased
If you look at the competition from Ford's Lightning and the upcoming
Dodge SRT-10, a lot of folks are going to wonder, why the choice of no
supercharger for the SS?
Well, there were a lot of directions we could have gone with this vehicle.
We could have chased it up higher in price with more performance. We could
have gone down in price and gone with a regular cab and no all wheel drive.
So, we have selected what we think is that kind of sweet spot in the market
for performance trucks where a buyer can come in at a reasonably affordable
price, get an extended cab model and some nice technology like all wheel
drive and a 6.0-liter Vortec.
It looks like you carried over some design cues from the Silverado
SS concept truck. For example, in the lower front fascia you have
these brake-cooling integrated ducts. Can you tell us a little more about
Well, it does help a little [with brake cooling].
We have tried
to bring some of those styling cues from the concept truck to this vehicle.
Obviously that concept truck intentionally was made a little bit extreme
just to let the stylists go crazy for a while and get a feel for where
we wanted to go in production. So, we are pleased with this truck. It
came out to be a refined looking vehicle. Not over the top but not understated
either. Again, we were trying to find that sweet spot.
Were there any thoughts about putting a manual transmission in the SS,
similar to the concept to get back to that performance feel?
We thought about that but for the majority of our truck buyers and the
applications for this truck, the volume for that was deemed to be relatively
low. It's something we will continue to look at for the very reasons that
you mention but in terms of getting the first truck out there in the marketplace
we think this is the right place to start.
Do you think we will see performance related extras and enhancements made
to the SS in future model years?
At this point nothing is approved and we can't anything today but those
of us on the SS team are very interested in seeing some things in the
future. Maybe a more uplevel wheel. Maybe some more powertrain enhancements.
Maybe a regular cab. Maybe a whole host of things. So, we'll continue
to work SS but we are really pleased we are off to a great start.
Can you let us know when we can expect to see these trucks at dealerships?
We are going to start to build these at the end of the 2002 calendar year
and you will start to see them at dealerships in the first quarter of
Any idea on what the pricing will be?
Well, we haven't set the pricing yet but you are looking at a fairly uplevel
extended cab with a 6.0-liter engine and all wheel drive so that will
give you kind of a sense of our thought process on where we will price
Well Rick, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
Thanks a lot.