Five Reasons Why Chevy Should Bring Its New TrailBlazer To The States50
It’s been only a few short hours since I first laid eyes on photos of the 2013 Chevrolet TrailBlazer show car. To say that I’m impressed, and excited, maybe even in love, would be downplaying my true feelings… in other words, I’d be frontin’ — as the cool kids say nowadays.
Be that as it may, GM has officially stated that it has no plans to bring the new TrailBlazer to North America. And even though our insider GM sources say otherwise, the fact remains that the TrailBlazer is not (yet) coming to the ‘States… officially, that is. But it must. Here’s why:
1. Market demand: there is still a sizable amount of drivers who don’t want a crossover optimized for 35 MPG and to whom fuel economy comes secondary to true capability. This market may be moving to crossovers on the premium and luxury side of the automotive equation, but it’s still alive and well when it comes to mainstream vehicles. Have you heard of the Toyota 4Runner and Nissan Pathfinder? What about the Jeep Grand Cherokee? In other words, the market is there… waiting for the right vehicle from the right brand.
2. Profitability: it’s no secret that body-on-frame vehicles are less expensive to manufacture than their unibody (crossover) counterparts. This means that not only is the market at the ready, but there’s a healthy profit to be made…
3. The TrailBlazer won’t step on anyone’s toes… any Chevy utility vehicle’s toes, that is. GM Authority sources have let on that a big reason for GM’s decision against brining the TrailBlazer to North America involves stepping on the toes of the much-bigger Traverse. Now, I’m not here to counter a company with gobs of market research at its disposal… but I will say that it’s all about positioning: it’s totally up to GM how it decides to position the TrailBlazer in the market, meaning that — if it really wanted to — it would find a way to make it work. Left to me, I would price it around $26,000 base and pitch it as a rugged, capable, and strong SUV — everything the Traverse and Equinox are not.
4. Pent-up Demand: now, we’re never fans of making foolish decisions for the sake of nostalgia, legacy, or history. After all, General Motors is a business — and we don’t want a repeat of what occurred in the summer 2009. But the Blazer is a legend that — as we already pointed out — can profitable serve an existing market segment. And given the amount of Blazer and TrailBlazer loyalists hanging on to their midsize SUVs with the grip of a hungry tiger, we don’t see the negative in bringing back a legend.
5. Three words: Jeep Grand Cherokee. Now, before I get lynched for drawing a comparison between a body-on-frame TrailBlazer and the unibody-based Jeep, let me just say this: sometimes, it’s not as much about the technical details as it is about the entire package. In other words, most Grand Cherokee buyers couldn’t care less about the unibody vs. body-on-frame argument us car fanatics love to obsess about. All most folks want is capability — on the pavement and off the road. And from what we’ve heard so far, the new TrailBlazer won’t disappoint in either department.
If that’s not enough (good) reasons to bring the new TrailBlazer to the States (and capture a good chunk of the hearts and minds of previous TrailBlazer owners), we don’t know what is.
Sound off in the comments with your opinions!
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it looks it a Kia Sportage mixed with the new Honda CRV, mixed with the Equinox… what are the going to do with the Equinox if this comes out?
The Equinox is built on the Front Wheel drive Theta platform and it’s 187.8in in length. If you are a customer in need of a truck to Tow / Haul something the Equinox is not going to cut it and the Tahoe and Suburban are to big. Aaron why do you think they need to pick one or the other ? Thanks 🙂
the powers to be are working on the future lineup and this so far is not in it but is being considered being the plant can handle the capacity. I think this will be built for the US in 2013.
If you need something that can tow/haul and don’t want a Tahoe, the Traverse can tow up to 5200 pounds which isn’t bad at all. But the trailblazer can actually go off-road which is what GM should look into for the States. It wouldn’t hurt at all bringing this vehicle to the states. Even the Ford Explorer can go somewhat off-road. GM Is one of the only automakers go doesn’t have a vehicle purpose built for handling the rough stuff at a reasonable price. Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, Ford… Pretty much every manufacturer has a vehicle that can do some off-roading or had an off-road mode. Besides GM and Hyundai/Kia. So this vehicle would be a welcome in the states. Not to mention it looks awesome
I think they should kinda change the interior to differentiate from the Colorado
This vehicle NEEDS to come to North America. It would definitely not be stepping on the toes of the Equinox or Traverse, it would be filling another market of people who want a sporty, capable SUV but aren’t ready to drop 50 large on a Tahoe. Just like Toyota does fine with having the 4runner while still having the Highlander, Rav4,and sequoia, that’s exactly what this Trailblazer would be doing for Chevrolet. They need to bring the SPORT back to the SUV!
First of all, wow… I can really see this vehicle in the states as 2 models. First the trailblazer as shown 7 passenger seating. Second a smaller Blazer version with 2 main doors and dutch doors for rear seat access, how cool would that be; have an extreme 4×4 version. Come on GM make it happen. This vehicle looks great, dare I say even upscale looking, taking chevy upscale in other markets is a great way to build its brand recognition.
They have to bring the Trailblazer here in time for me to get a new vehicle. When will that be? Well, my present Trailblazer (2007) has 140,000 miles on it and if was here now, I would get one. How long can I wait? I figure my 2007 is only half used up so I have some time yet, BUT I DON’T WANT TO WAIT THAT LONG!! And being a GM retiree depending on GM sales to fund my pension, I don’t want to cut my own throat by buying non GM. Don’t make me do it!!
Body-on-frame ala: Toyota 4Runner and FJ Cruiser are on the way out bigtime. They’re dinosaurs. Toyota is on pace to sell 40,000 or so 4Runners and 14,000 FJs in all of 2011. Not impressive numbers. People need to grow up – just realize when you fantasize about your old Blazer or Bronco, you were talking about vehicles that got 7-12 realistic mpg. Sure, you’ll always encounter Joe B.S., who states: “I had a Tahoe for five years and averaged 30mpg!!!”, of course, we all know what he was smokin’. These vehicles are HEAVY – One does not need to haul around this much beef while driving alone to and from work.
We cannot live like we did in the past. The age of sucking up crude oil to pose as if we could go offroad if we felt like it have long passed. Y’all realize 90% of all SUVs sold never even get dirt on their tires, right? You imagine some big market for this gas pig, even as a diesel, it just doesn’t make sense. Biodiesel isn’t widely adopted in America, and most of our crude oil is refined into gasoline. Diesels make sense for company fleets, as do natural gas powered rigs. I cannot see John Doe SUV owner opting for a diesel.
Since the Colorado is being built in Thailand – it makes sense to spin off an SUV from it to stretch the viability of the line. The Aussie market is there – and sell it in the Middle East – places where offroad or outback driving is more essential. You guys want to see these heavy, outdated machines hauling kids to soccer practice, and groceries from the supermarket – and that’s just plain crazy-talk.
Remember 3/4 of the 9-11 hijackers had lived or were from Saudi Arabia. O.P.E.C. nations supply a huge chunk of our imported oil. So you don’t care if you drive a body-on-frame SUV and pour your money down the tank…So you want to feel as if you could go offroad if you wanted to, and drive up high in command of all you survey…. At what cost? Of freedom?! Of clean air? Do you feel hundreds of thousands of troops deployed all over the world to protect or access to foreign oil is a good thing? Calculate what just one carrier group protecting the oil platform off the coast of Iraq costs American taxpayers for just one day!
GM needs to sell the Orlando in the U.S., it’s a no-brainer. Since it , Cruze and Volt share the same platform – it’s also a given that the MPV5 EREV/PHEV based on Orlando take a prominent place in GM’s strategy moving forward. Colorado being built and sold in America is a big plus which meshes with looming mileage standards ahead. A capable midsized truck is needed to draw folks down out of those towering fullsized pickup trucks that take a ladder to step up into. Americans do not need nor want a domestic 4Runner- It’s sales are declining qtr.after qtr..
Add the current new C.A.F.E. regulations coming down, and the unlikelihood of any Republican president occupying the Oval Office for another five years – and you know GM and the other domestic automakers have to make trucks that get better mileage. So this squeezed-down version of a Tahoe has no place in America – already crowded with SUV and crossover choices up the yang. Looking macho has to be put into perspective. We Americans can’t just keep being the largest consumer of non-sustainable fossil fuels “just because we can”. We need to get smart.
Nicely worded, James.
I’m not going to touch the whole “where’s you gas coming from” and the 911 stuff — since one could easily bring up the Iraq “occupation” by the U.S. — and that’s just not what we’re here to discuss.
However, I will take you up on your argument that there isn’t a market for body-on-frame SUVs.
You’re right — the sold amount of these types of vehicles will decrease as crossovers take over for the needs of most people. But even at the low sales volumes we’re discussing for the 4Runner, for instance, it’s possible to realize economies of scale with the Colorado truck. At the end of the day, any automaker worth their salt can figure out how to make a midsize SUV based on a midsize truck work, financially. So the business viability of the program is a non-starter.
That said, could it be possible that a vehicle such as the new TB would be attractive to owners of Tahoes and Yukons looking to improve fuel economy or downsize? I think so.
As that point, you’ll actually be helping your argument of decreasing oil independence, since the TB will be heaps more fuel efficient than even the newest Tahoe/Yukon.
What say you?
Alex, although you make a valid point, I just can’t hop onboard that bandwagon. I’ve seen folks sell their Suburban and opt for the Tahoe and say they’re saving a bunch of gas. I’ve known similar people who’ve traded the old Tahoe for the Flex-fuel Tahoe and say they’ve “gone green” but still haven’t found an E-85 pump in two years! How about the guy who drives the light-hybrid Tahoe, paid $53,000 , says he’s gettting off foreign oil as he gets a whopping 17mpg hwy – 14mpg average! Yes those people, THAT MARKET will feel stepping down to a truck-based, smaller SUV will be a big gesture towards reducing our dependence upon other countries. But aren’t those the same guys who actually listen to Republican presidential candidates like Romney and Perry bloviate “energy independence” as their new term for “DRILL BABY DRILL!”? Yes, they’re one and the same. These types don’t go far enough to research that if we drilled every part of the Alaskan tundra possible, and let’s say we immediately had near-shore oil platforms up and down the California, Florida and Gulf coastlines – it wouldn’t amount to 10% of our daily domestic oil usage today. That said, and it would take ten years to set up this system and our needs are multiplying daily.
I say gently transferring boat-SUV owners to a smaller, slightly more fuel-efficient boat truck frame based SUVs is just another form of the aforementioned insanity. Are people that stupid? – Please do not answer this…
My stance is that our needs are too dire, and the price of a gallon of gasoline will dictate the market trend towards unibody people movers. People with a sincere need to tow trailers and haul lots of passengers will do what my neighbors who own offshore boats or racecars do. They’ll keep the gas-pig Tahoe or Suburban parked somewhere just for those trips that require the towing or hauling capability. Those with large families or regular people hauling needs can look to the Mercedes/Freightliner Sprinter for 22+ mpg.. Eventually, the Big Three will provide a diesel-optioned platform that will suit each of these purposes. GM invested $5 million into Indiana-based Bright Automotive, who’se Bright IDEA – PHEV van boasts 38 miles on electric + 38 mpg after for a total of 400 miles.
The newer, higher C.A.F.E. standards will force major automakers to nix the heavy body-on-framers for new solutions. Innovation is the key to success, not sitting back on old formulas to increase market share.
I’ll approach this piece-by-piece, since that’s the only way I know of keeping sane 🙂
1. You’re right — people’s wants are above and beyond their needs. Most Yukon/Suburban/Tahoe drivers, and even those of the Silverado and Sierra, would be better suited (environmentally) with a smaller vehicle that’s more efficient. Whether that be a body-on-frame unit or not (Sprinter is body on frame, by the way), the fact is that we’re driving “too big” and “too heavy” for long-term sustainability.
2. In my opinion, the only way to quickly curb the problem presented in #1 is to charge a palpable pump-side gas tax. This will force people to think before “buying inefficient.”
3. In order for innovation to take place, automakers need the required moneys to fund R&D. Guess what the most profitable type of vehicle is today! Usually, a body on frame unit! So innovation is important, but without the “traditional vehicles” purchased by so many today, that innovation would be stifled due to financial constraints.
But it isn’t necessary that they have to kill the body-on-framers
In a 2010 interview with the Asst. Sec. Of Transportation, Automobile Magazine repeatedly asked, “why not raise the tax on a gallon of gas?”. Her answer was, “there is no appetite in Washington at the present time to raise the gasoline tax”, and I had to laugh out loud. Why? Because, even though just about anyone knows that in a consumer-driven economy the price of gas greatly motivates us to buy a more efficient vehicle – and even though a large chunk of our national deficit, and all our infrastructure rehabilitation and expansion would be covered by a relatively small percentage uptick of the federal gas tax – it will never happen because it would be political suicide for whomever proposed it. There hasn’t been a hike in the federal gasoline tax since 1993, and it is not indexed for inflation, so it stands at 18.4%. Just think, Congressperson A proposes a hike in the gas tax, Political Opponent B pounces upon it and runs TV ads proclaiming Congressman A as a horrible tax-crazy fiend, “Keep Your Hands Off Our Gas!”. So the only way it can gain traction in our political environment would be from a lame-duck, last term person who could care less if they’re re-elected. I’m not sure Obama in a second term would try or could get away with it.
Instead of the best and most direct solution to our nation’s problems, as usual, our elected officials pick the back-door approach. In other words, they instigate regulation upon regulation on the automaker. By periodically raising the C.A.F.E. standards, the government puts the pressure on the manufacturer of the good rather than the consumer who would naturally drive the market towards what sells. Look what the oil crisis in the ’70s did for foreign compact cars, and they’ve been in the market ever since.Then said manufacturer goes under trying to develop product to meet the government-mandated standard – can anyone say “backasswards”?
Because of our military might and political influence over most oil producing nations, we pay far less for a barrel of crude oil than our peers around the globe. This environment has spawned many a heavy-framed, truck-based station wagon. When I was asked to sell my sister’s gas pig Suburban, I’d notice the other Suburban drivers on the road, 85% were smallish women driving alone! Now THAT makes sense, 5800 lbs. of steel to haul around a 120 lb. woman and her groceries! This is our current situation to this date – an environment so chaotic, that we see a company like Toyota who some see as a “green champion” for Prius and HSD making gargantuan Tundras and Sequoias to market alongside them. I mean, how ironic that we say, “We gotta make the high profit leviathan gas pigs to fund research to make fuel efficient solutions for the rest of the folks waking up to current world realities!
Totally agree. Well-put.
In Russia, we are a little more lucky because GM is going to bring the new TB to us next year. I like its design very much, but I can`t find any technical data anywhere! Our GM dealers in Russia have no exact information about this SUV, too. Would anybody help me, please?
The New TrailBlazer hasn’t yet been revealed as an official model, but only as a “show car” — which means that it’s very close to production-spec.
The only technical info we know so far is that it’s built on the new GMI-700 platform shared with the new Chevy Colorado pickup truck and that one of the engines available will be a 2.8 Duramax diesel:
Also, here’s some more info about the new Colorado:
Thank you, Alex! But 2.8L (180 hp) – is it quite enough for such a big vehicle? Whether it can provide a good 0 to 60 mph time?
180 hp is one way to look at it. The other is that it makes 470 Nm (346 lb.-ft.) of twist . As it is typical for diesel engines, the horsepower number is low, while the torque number is very high. I’m not expecting this to be a race car, but rather a good-looking, capable, and efficient SUV.
Who cares about 0-60, if I can get the utility and 28+ MPG I am in heaven. If 0 to 60 is important, this is probably the wrong vehicle to purchase.
It is true for the USA. But in Russia, there is a lot of single carriageways, and roads with the only narrow lane in each direction, so a driver is very often to use for passing the same lane that is used by oncoming traffic. This makes overtaking a very dangerous manoeuver that should be completed as soon as possible. Because of that, 0-60 is really very important. My present vehicle (also SUV from GM) shows 8.9 seconds, and I want the next one not to be slower.
I don’t think the new TrailBlazer will be slower to 60 than 9 seconds. However, I think you would be best served if you looked at 30-60 times, since you’ll be making the passing maneuver from a moving position rather from a standstill, right?
What do you drive right now?
Thank you again! This is because of my bad English. Of course, I meant acceleration as that (first of all, from a moving position).
Now I drive 09`H3.
Cool. I love the H3. Too bad it’s gone away. 🙁
I hope the new TrailBlazer will be lighter than the H3, since it’s a newer platform. This will, of course, help it achieve better performance with a less powerful engine. Does your H3 have one of the V6s or the 5.3 V8?
PS: I was born and lived in St. Petersburg, Russia:
It has Vortec 3.7L.
I was born and live in St. Petersburg, too:)
Small world! 🙂
One more question, Alex. GM usually insists it doesn`t a matter, in what country the car has been made. But actually, GM vehicles made in the US are not equal to ones made, for example, in Russia, because the quality of Russian manufacturing is not very high. What about the Thailand manufacturing?
Good question. I’ve never driven a GM vehicle made in Thailand… at least that I know of. So I wouldn’t be the best person to ask. Perhaps one of our readers who has could chime in here?
I wonder, though, if Blazer production will eventually be moved to St. Pete or Kaliningrad with time. I believe it’s GM’s long-term goal to move “large region” production locally instead of relying on the headaches associated with import/export.
Do you think that Russian manufacturing, when done by international firms like GM, will improve with time?
There live two persons in me: the Idealist would like to hope for it, but the Realist says, it will occur not soon:)
Yupp, I know exactly what you mean 🙂
And the last question for today, Alex. If I get it right, the Middle East is planned to be the main market for the new TB. Will the vehicles be adapted, if necessary, for the countries with frigid climate?
Good question as well! Thailand and surrounding areas seem to be the main markets for the new Colorado and TrailBlazer. That said, it’s too early to tell — since we don’t know what kind of equipment the TB will offer for regions outside of its primary target markets.
What kind of adaptations will you be looking for?