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GM Rolls Dice on New Midsize Pickup Truck

Automaker breaks ground on addition to existing plant where it will build next Chevrolet Colorado.

by on May.22, 2012

General Motors showed this Chevrolet Colorado concept when it announced last fall that Wentzville would be expanded to handle its production.

General Motors broke ground Monday on a $380 million plant expansion to its Wentzville Assembly facility outside St. Louis, to accommodate the production of the newly designed Chevrolet Colorado midsize pick-up, creating or retaining about 1,260 jobs hourly and salaried jobs.

“Our plant could not be successful without strong support from our local community,” GM Wentzville plant manager John Dansby said . “We’re pleased to make this announcement today that strengthens our presence in Wentzville with a significant expansion of our facility that will benefit the local economy.”

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Wentzville currently produces the full-size Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo and passenger vans.


Fiat’s Iveco Could Provide Chrysler With Ram Van Replacement

Would fill in gap left when Mercedes cancelled Sprinter deal, also add Transit Connect competitor.

by on Jul.11, 2011

Chrysler may soon add a version of the Iveco Daily as a replacement for the former Dodge Sprinter.

Chrysler’s Ram brand has a big hole in its line-up – one left empty when its former German partner, Daimler AG, decided to end a tie-up that had provided the U.S. maker with a version of the big European Sprinter van.

But that gap may soon be filled by a product sharing project with Fiat, Chrysler’s Italian partner.  Fiat’s Iveco Daily or the smaller Fiat Ducato would readily replace the old Dodge Sprinter – and be marketed, going forward, with the badge of the new Ram division.

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Meanwhile, Chrysler appears ready to turn to Iveco to cover another, smaller product hole, reports  Fiat’s little Doblo, an urban European delivery truck, could give Ram a product to toss up against the likes of the Ford TransitConnect.

The two models would cover “different opportunities” in the market, Ram’s new product marketing chief, Rob Hegbloom, told Wards, confirming long-standing rumors that the U.S. truck brand might find opportunities to ally with both Fiat and Iveco.


GM Not Ready to Give Up on Small Pickups in U.S.

by on Mar.08, 2011

Chevrolet is teasing its new Colorado pickup truck show vehicle that it plans to show at the Bangkok International Motor Show later this month.

Ford may have given up on small and mid-size trucks for the U.S. market, but GM isn’t ready throw in the towel yet.

During its 2008 restructuring, GM said it would kill its mid-size Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, but it would appear the automaker has had a change of heart.

GM gave a sneak peek of the Colorado it will introduce at the Bangkok International Motor Show, which begins March 25.

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“Trucks play a key role in most Southeast Asian markets,” said Susan Docherty, vice president of GMIO Sales, Marketing and Aftersales. “Nowhere is this more evident than in Thailand, where trucks like the Colorado are ingrained in the local lifestyle.”

GM plans to stop building the current Colorado, as well its twin, the GMC Canyon, in 2012. The Shreveport, La., plant where the trucks are built is slated to close. But reported last month that development on the next-generation 2014 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon for the U.S. and Canada is under way, based on GM’s all-new GMI 700 body-on-frame global small truck platform that will be built in Thailand starting late this year.

Speculation is that GM will move production to the under-utilized Wentzville, Mo., where it builds full-size vans.


Sneak Peek: Ford Family One Concept Van

NY Debut of a Possible Minivan Alternative.

by on Apr.04, 2009

Family One - Ford's latest take on a minivan alternative.

Ford Family One - the automaker's latest take on a minivan alternative.

The minivan is dead.  Or so goes conventional wisdom, and the steady decline in sales would suggest that’s probably true.  Even king-of-the-hill Chrysler is struggling to fill a single factory, while the other domestic makers, Ford and General Motors, have walked away from the minivan segment entirely.

Well, then again, maybe not.  Ford weighed in with an interesting alternative, last year, in the form of its Flex “people mover.”  And at the upcoming New York Auto Show, it will reveal another possible minivan substitute, this one dubbed the Ford Family One.

If the basic shape is familiar, that’s because Ford has been getting a lot of mileage, lately, out of its European-designed TransitConnect van.  We saw a heaping helping of TC variants at the Chicago Auto Show, just two months ago.  But the automaker does have an interesting point to make: the van is surprisingly flexible, and perhaps it could be turned into a real minivan alternative, if your family doesn’t mind being driving a van distinctly commercial in its overall shape.