New Chevy Colorado may be in your future

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I feel guilty.  So many of you are committed GM truck people and it has been tough squeezing anything out of the company as far as new product is concerned.  As a result, I haven’t written much lately about the #2 truck maker in the US. 

Nothing is out there but spy stuff (which I will cover next week) on the 2014 Silverado, and most folks agree that the vehicles now in the market are dated compared to the competition.  The company is still in a solid marketing position in terms of truck sales, but it will be great to see some fresh thinking and exciting trucks in the near future.  The consensus is that GM needs to hit a home run, but in the meantime…


First images of new Chevrolet Colorado

New Chevrolet Colorado in the works

GM has broken ground on a major expansion to its Wentzville Assembly Plant to prepare for production of the all-new Colorado, but there is no word on whether there will be a GMC version of this truck.  The 2012 is still being built at the Shreveport Assembly Plant, but who knows.  Shreveport production will be phased post 2012.

There is definitely a place for a new Colorado.  As I have written before, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier are the most interesting mid-size trucks out there today and neither is great on fuel efficiency.  Ford has driven the market toward its F-150 in the US by making its new global Ranger truck unavailable in the American market (much to the dismay of those who read about the fanfare of the new Ranger, which is being sold in 180 markets, but not here.) 

We don’t know a lot about the details and exact timing for the new Colorado.  A version was launched in Thailand in late 2011, and it was again highlighted in auto shows in Asia, South America, Australia and Germany. 

Says Chris Perry, VP-global marketing and strategy, “We think the design, capability and fuel efficiency of the new Colorado will make it attractive to US customers.” Not a lot for us to go on yet.

The model lineup in Thailand includes 2WD and 4WD regular, extended cab and crew cab alternatives.  New 2.5L and 2.8L turbo diesel that produce broad torque bands engineered for excellent cargo and tow capacity will be offered.  No engine data has been made available yet for US versions.

The all-new architecture is coming out of Brazil but we have been told that the vehicle will be tailored to individual markets.  In Thailand, for example, the engineering team did extensive research of observe how the people used their vehicles, as well as the driving conditions they encounter. 

The new global Colorado will have to impress some of the country’s toughest truck critics if it is to make a major splash here.  In 2002, Colorado sales were 151,000, dropping to 31,000 in 2011, and through April, 2012, sales continued to drop to 13,000. 

US News & World report in their 2012 ranking placed it at 5th place out of 5 entrants in the segment; and in their 2012 shootout rated the 2012Colorado as 5th out of 7 vehicles and the 2012 GMC Canyon as 6th. 

I hope that GM can win over a whole generation of new buyers with their new vehicle.  It remains to be seen, however, if the best years are behind us for mid-size trucks as a category, or whether a smaller truck can still generate excitement in the market.

You tell me.  Do we need more mid-size pickup alternative in the US, or is the shift over to a full-size vehicle a done deal?

Note: I leave for Ford’s Dearborn headquarters tomorrow morning to participate in a line review of the 2013 vehicles, including the F-150 Limited with an interior that I am told is exceptional; on Thursday it will be a similar exercise with Chrysler, including RAM and Jeep at the company’s Chelsea Proving Grounds.  I don’t know yet if information will be embargoed, but will publish everything that I can next week. 




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