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 |  Oct 05 2011, 6:00 PM

In Bangkok, Thailand today, Chevrolet finally took the wraps off the production version of the new 2012 mid-size Colorado pickup. The result of a five-year vehicle program estimated at some $2 billion, the new truck promises to deliver more features, technology and value than any mid-size bowtie pickup before.

Considering that much of the R&D and development work was done in Thailand, that country is the new Colorado’s launch market, Thai customers being offered a choice of 26 different combinations, which include two new Duramax diesel engines, in 2.5 and 2.8-liter forms, a choice of regular, extended and crew cab configurations, narrow and wide bodies, plus two or four-wheel drive.

Chevy plans to offer the new Colorado in some 60 markets worldwide, including other parts of Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Note that there’s no mention of the US.

It seems, just like Ford, GM is content to offer mid-size pickups elsewhere, leaving buyers here stuck with full-size rigs, at least for the time being. It’s a shame, as the new Colorado appears to be a highly capable machine and if it were sold here, would prove a worthy alternative to the likes of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, which essentially have that segment of the market all to themselves.

Some of the highlights of the new Colorado include all-new sheetmetal and interiors, standard five-speed manual gearbox, optional Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission and an electrically activated two-speed transfer case on 4 x 4 models.

The two new Duramax diesels also promise to be quite the performers, the 2.5-liter unit churns out 150 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.8 (which incorporates a variable geometry turbocharger and balance shaft), makes 180 horsepower and  324 lb-ft of torque (346 lb-ft with the six-speed automatic).

Chevy says it plans to reveal more specs and features in the near future, though even at this stage, it appears the new Colorado will give the recently introduced ‘global’ Ford Ranger, a real run for its money.

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet-Colorado_2012_800x600_wallpaper_02.jpgcolorado.jpgChevrolet-Colorado_2012_800x600_wallpaper_03.jpgChevrolet-Colorado_2012_800x600_wallpaper_04.jpg

 |  Sep 22 2011, 8:15 AM

It’s almost ready to rumble, but unfortunately, it won’t be doing any rumbling here. In an official press release, General Motors has stated that the new Chevrolet Colorado will indeed be built for ‘rest of the world’ consumption, much like its new Ford Ranger competitor.

The ‘global’ Colorado (currently undergoing final testing – see above) will be offered in a choice of extended and crew cab configurations and feature 2.5 and 2.8 liter Duramax diesel engine options under the hood with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions. It will be assembled at GM’s facility in Rayong, Thailand, which has undergone a tooling upgrade of some $300 million to handle production of the new truck and Thailand, understandably will be the Colorado’s launch market.

Launches in other markets across Asia and the Pacific Rim, as well as Africa, the Middle East and South America will follow.

Having spent much time in Thailand during the vehicle’s development process, in order to gauge the kind of buyers found in the local pickup market as well as driving conditions many trucks are subjected to, Colorado chief engineer Roberto Rempel and his team believe that Chevy’s new mid-size pickup is more than up to the task.

“We know customers of this type of vehicle want a workhorse and a daily-use vehicle all in one, so our product has to deliver. We have benchmarked the toughest, most flexible vehicles around the world,” Rempel said. “When you combine that approach with our detailed consideration of global expectations, we are confident the new Colorado will be a winner.”

So why can’t we in North America have one?