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!