General Motors is working on a a new, compact Chevrolet unibody pickup. According to sources familiar with the project, the all-new model will be an indirect replacement for the Latin American-market Chevrolet Montana, which in some markets is named Chevy Tornado and Utility.
The compact pickup segment was (arguably) initially created by the Chevrolet Montana. The model was later joined in South America by the Fiat Toro (also known as the Ram 1000 in Colombia) and the Renault Oroch. The segment will grow still in the near future.
In November, Volkswagen presented the Tarok Concept in Brazil. The model will launch by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, Hyundai is hard at work on the Santa Cruz and Ford is developing a new small pickup potentially called the Ford Courier, as reported earlier this month by our sister site, Ford Authority.
The small Chevrolet unibody pickup will be based on GM’s new Global Emerging Markets architecture, otherwise known as the GEM platform.
The project is part of the automaker’s goal to build a series of new vehicles for developing markets on the architecture, which is meant for low-cost offerings for developing markets. Other future GM models underpinned by the platform include Chevrolet Onix, Sail, Tracker, Buick Excelle, and many others.
Size & Positioning
The future Chevrolet unibody pickup is said to be bigger and better than the current Montana, which is exclusively available in a single cab, two-door body style. That means that the vehicle’s passenger capacity is limited to two occupants – the driver and passenger. The current model is derived from a small hatchback – the Chevrolet Agile.
The future model is expected to have a four-door body and use an extended version of the robust chassis of the next-generation Chevrolet Tracker (which will become a separate model from the future Chevy Trax). GM’s strategy to derive the unibody pickup truck from a small crossover would follow in the footsteps of aforementioned Fiat Toro and Renault Oroch, which are derived from the Jeep Renegade and Renault Duster, respectively.
It’s worth noting that the future Chevy unibody pickup is being developed quite differently from other Chevy vehicles on the GEM platform: while GEM models are being jointly developed by teams in China and Brazil, the pickup model is being developed exclusively by GM Brazil.
Putting GM’s Brazil-based design and engineering house in charge of the project makes sense given that the biggest market for the Chevrolet unibody pickup will be Latin America, which includes Central and South America as well as parts of the Caribbean. This discovery suggests that the model is not intended to be manufactured or sold in China, since GEM-based models planned for both China and Latin America are home-roomed in China.
The small Chevrolet unibody pickup will likely be powered by the same engine that is currently found in the Chevrolet Cruze – the turbo-charged 1.4L I-4 LE2 good for 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.
The boosted four-banger will likely be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
It is expected that this future, compact Chevrolet unibody pickup – whose name is currently unknown, but could continue being Montana – will be manufactured alongside the next-gen Tracker at the GM São Caetano do Sul plant in Brazil.
The 1.4L turbo engine powering the new model will likely be made at the GM Rosario plant in Argentina.
Being one of the last models derived from GM’s GEM platform, the vehicle will likely go on sale some time in the 2020 calendar year. Its arrival should imply the end of the aging Chevrolet Montana, which is sold in some markets as the Chevrolet Tornado and Chevrolet Utility.
The model will be available in Central and South America. Availability outside of those markets, such as in North America, is unlikely as of this writing. However, this could very well change in the future, given certain competitive and emissions factors.
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