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Bigger isn’t always better, although domestic automakers are pretending not to hear you when it comes to compact pickups. Why?
Speaking at the New York Auto Show, GM North American President Mark Reuss said that the new mid-size truck, which may not be called Colorado, will debut after the unveiling of GM’s redesigned half-ton pickups. Although he didn’t hint at a new name, rumors are floating around that the LUV badge will be revived for the mid-size pickup which makes sense.
The Chevy LUV was a small Isuzu designed pickup truck which Chevrolet offered in North America during the 1970′s. LUV is an acronym for light utility vehicle, which would suit the design of the new Colorado well.
[Source: Detroit News]
Early on, many people assumed the truck would immediately succeed the recently discontinued generation as a 2013 model, but those assumptions are turning up false. In fact the new Colorado, pictured above, will take another two years to make its North American debut in 2014 as a 2015 model. While it might seem odd that the small truck is being delayed for this part of the world, there are good reasons for the decision.
GM probably couldn’t bring the new Colorado to market right away, even if it wanted to. Last November the company announced its plans to use the Wentzville, Mo. assembly plant to produce the truck, but preparing for that production is time consuming. While it may be possible to get the plant ready in time, it probably isn’t cost-effective.
Even if it were, the world-marketed Colorado isn’t designed for North Americans. Right now, it’s sold with a 2.8-liter diesel engine and is designed with worldwide customers in mind. The company used much of the same strategy in marketing and designing its Cruze, Spark and Sonic — first selling them globally only to redesign them for the U.S. It seems GM is going about the new Colorado in much the same way.
As is often true, it won’t come as a surprise to find different engine options for the North American Colorado than the version sold globally. Even still, it isn’t clear what to expect when the truck finally launches. According to GM Inside News, the company plans to offer its new 2.5-liter four cylinder or 3.6-liter V6, though there isn’t any word on a diesel variant Stateside.
[Source: GM Inside News]
GM has issued a recall on Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pick-up trucks produced between September 9th, 2011 to October 19th, 2011 for a faulty driver’s side seatbelt buckle. An electrical connector on the buckle might not have fit snugly with the connector pins which will cause the seat belt warning light to not illuminate when the belt is not fastened.
It’s not exactly the most disastrous of recalls, though NHTSA wanted to remind everyone that the lack of an audible or visual warning that the driver’s seatbelt isn’t fastened could increase the risk of injury during an accident. Either way, GM will rectify the issue by installing a new electric connector terminal with the recall beginning on November 30th.
Even as General Motors readies their new Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup, Ford and Chrysler are hedging their bets that consumers won’t return to the floundering small truck market, and continue to opt for full-size pickups instead.
General Motors has claimed that the new Colorado will do most of what a full-size truck can do with substantially reduced running costs. GM’s strategy appears to hinge on rising gas prices and a general trend towards more fuel-efficient vehicles. On the opposite end, Ford is killing off its Ranger pickup entirely, and will offer a replacement in world markets, but not North America. Thailand will be a big market for the Ranger (it’s the world’s largest mid-size pickup nation) and much of the Colorado’s development work was done there.
Studies have shown that the current mid-size truck entries are actually costlier to own once depreciation is factored in. Fuel economy advances in the full-size segment, along with the macho image of a full-size truck have helped contribute to the demise of the mid-size pickup.
Chrysler, which recently killed off their Dakota mid-size pickup, is still exploring whether to bring a new smaller truck to market, with spokesman Dave Elshoff telling Automotive News “We believe there is still a substantial market for small pickups,.. “We’re studying the demographics and business case for a small Ram pickup
[Source: Automotive News]
Chevrolet‘s new mid-size Colorado pickup will offer most of the functionality of a full-size light-duty pickup without the operating costs, according to Mark Reuss, head of General Motors North America.
“You may have 85, 90 percent of what a big pickup will do,” Reuss told Automotive News at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The previous Colorado offered a 5-cylinder and a V8 option but Reuss did not announce powertrain options. With upcoming fuel economy regulations and rising gas prices, the Colorado will be an important entry in the pickup truck segment, the dominant vehicle in the United States.
Reuss also said that ”rather than putting full-blown four-mode hybrids or two-mode hybrids into large pickup trucks and trying to get efficiency out of it, which is extremely expensive, we can do things with lower displacement, hybridization, alternate fuels.” Reuss also noted that the running costs of the Colorado would be significantly less than a full-size pickup.
General Motors will have to convince buyers that the smaller Colorado will be able to meet their needs, while marketing the pickup in such a way as to avoid the stigma that small pickups have among some buyers. GM did not say whether GMC will get a version to replace the GMC Canyon, sister truck to the Colorado.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Chevrolet TrailBlazer was killed off in 2009 to make way for GM’s new range of car-based crossovers, but evidently there’s still demand for a mid-size, truck based SUV, as Chevrolet has announced a new TrailBlazer based on the upcoming Colorado mid-size pickup.
Given that the Colorado was developed for world markets by GM’s Thailand division, expect the new TrailBlazer to differ from the outgoing vehicle, which could be had with a 6.0L small-block V8. The new TrailBlazer will be unveiled alongside the Colorado at the Dubai Motor Show in November. In the mean time, check out the press release below.
GM is recalling 10,000 trucks and SUVs that have been impacted by two safety issues worldwide. The majority of the recalls are for the 2011 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon (9,215 combined) that could roll away when shifted into park due to a faulty part manufactured in China. The recall will be officially issued out on July 19th, and GM will install new automatic transmission adjustment clips. This recall impacts 6,700 vehicles sold in the United States.
Fortunately this recall (and the other one) doesn’t involve any crashes. The Colorado and Canyon recall was discovered when a vehicle failed to start while at a GM assembly plant. The other recall is being issued out to 891 SUVs and trucks for steering problems. 739 of the vehicles impacted are in the United States. Those impacted will have their intermediate steering shaft bolts properly tightened to ensure no loss of steering can occur. Those letters will be sent out on July 13th.
The 891 SUVs and trucks affected by that recall include the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Sierra all from the 2011 model year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) has stated that the windshield wipers may become inoperative. The issue centers around potentially loose nuts on the wiper’s motor crank arm intended to secure the windshield wipers. The nuts were not properly secured during manufacturing. This could reduce driver visibility, therefor increasing the risk of a crash.
General Motors has halted production at their Tonawanda, New York engine plant, due to a parts shortage that has affected another factory in Louisiana.
The New York plant builds engines for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, which are assembled at the Shreveport, Louisiana plant. While GM has acknowledged that the closure is due to an issue with Japanese parts, GM hasn’t specified what components are affected.
Of the 623 workers at the plant, 59 have been laid off due to the shortage. Some have suspected that GM is diverting the components to more profitable vehicles, as it fears an extreme disruption to its supply chain. GM plants in Spain and Germany have also been closed due to the shortage.
[Source: USA Today]
It wasn’t exactly a secret. With Thailand being one of the most popular single markets for small and mid-size pickups – the biggest in the world according to GM’s Susan Docherty, it’s hardly surprising the General chose the Bangkok Auto Show to reveal its global Ford Ranger competitor, the Chevrolet Colorado.
However, the actual truck shown, although clearly production focused, still displays some flashy show car gingerbread, namely 20 inch wheels and a body colored tonneau cover. Not much has so far been mentioned about the mechanicals, save that it will be powered by a 2.8-liter turbo diesel engine and probably teamed with both manual and automatic transmissions, at least in its launch market.
Gallery: Chevrolet Colorado
General Motors Shreveport, Louisiana factory that builds the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will face a production halt until March 21st due to supply chain issues stemming from Japan’s natural disasters.
GM hasn’t specified which part is causing the stoppage, but both trucks feature a manual transmission made by Japanese firm Aisin. GM apparently has a 58 day supply of the small trucks (compared to an industry average of 60 days), but the slow selling vehicles are due to die, along with the plant, in 2012.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
General Motors is fond of releasing ‘teaser’ images for its up and coming vehicles, the latest of which is the picture you see here.
It’s designed to give us a clue as to what the next generation Chevy Colorado pickup will look like. Smaller trucks are very popular outside North America, especially in the Middle and Far East. In fact, GM has chosen Thailand to introduce it’s next mid-size pickup (the Colorado will be unveiled at the Bangkok Auto Show on March 25).
This probably isn’t surprising, as trucks currently account for around 43 percent of all auto sales in that country. Thailand is also the manufacturing point for the rest of the world’s Ford Ranger, which the Blue Oval announced not too long ago.
However, unlike the Ranger; GM is not giving up on the North American market when it comes to small trucks, one source says that the new Colorado was specifically engineered to conform to U.S. and Canadian federal requirements as well as market tastes, though at present, there’s scant information on equipment, engines and features.
Nevertheless, the fact that GM is thinking about keeping a smaller truck for North American buyers is an encouraging sign for those looking to replace their S-10s and first gen Colorados/Canyons. Perhaps Ford should take note from all this, currently the Blue Oval has no plans to replace the hoary (but still popular) compact Ranger in this part of the world, much to the chagrin of many would be pickup buyers.
With the Ford Ranger having left the building, General Motors is capitalizing on the death of a legend by going full steam ahead with the development of their next compact pickups, which will replace the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
While the Ranger will be sold in markets across the globe, save for the United States, the GM twins will be developed as a world platform, with General Motors leveraging the expertise of their divisions in Thailand, which is a significant market for small trucks. Of course, the trucks will have to be built Stateside, since imported trucks are subject to extraordinary duties thanks to the infamous “chicken tax“.
Of course, Toyota and Nissan still make a compact truck, but we can see the appeal of a domestic alternative for a large section of the market. GM had originally planned to kill off their small truck twins, but the recent change of events seems to have made them re-consider their plans.
General Motors has announced that is recalling some 192,676 2004-11 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup regular and extended cab models (plus certain 2008-09 Isuzu i280/i370 trucks) fitted with 60/40 split front bench seats because of tether issues for child seats.
According to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards applicable in the U.S. and Canada, the location of the top tethers on the center part of these seats means they aren’t accessible for properly securing child seats. Although to date, there have been no reported instances of injuries resulting from this issue, GM is urging customers who own one of these vehicles to contact their local dealer as soon as possible to have the tethers modified.
The dealer will fix the problem at any time and free of charge, regardless of the age or mileage of the vehicle. In the meantime GM is stressing that owners of these trucks, if they are going to install a child seat, should secure it on the right side of the front seat, where the top tether is more accessible and the child chair can be better secured in place.