It’s too dangerous in Thailand right now for the Race of Champions to be held, so it will be cancelled for the first time since it started in 1988.
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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]
While Thailand is mostly known for sandy beaches, fake watches and other pleasures that need to be paid for in cash, Thailand has a strong manufacturing base, with many automakers producing vehicles and components in the developing nation.
October’s flooding, which ravaged the Southeast Asian country, made a major dent in the production figures of Japanese automakers in particular. Toyota estimates that it lost 87,000 vehicles alone due to the flooding. Other automakers, like Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi are just re-starting production as well.
Honda was impacted fairly strongly, although their power products and motorcycles seem to have been hit the hardest. Honda’s CBR250R motorcycle, a popular entry-level bike, is built in Thailand, though the flood’s effect on their automobiles (like the Brio city car) has not been fully discovered.
[Source: Automotive News]
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
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?
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 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.