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Chevy Goes Rock Crawling With New Colorado ZR2

Chevy pickup first off-roader to use Dynamic Suspension Dampers

by on Nov.16, 2016

Chevy hopes the new ZR2 model will convince truck buyers that its midsize model is a serious off-roader.

In the take-no-prisoners battle for midsize truck buyers, Chevrolet landed a strong punch with the return of the Colorado pickup a couple years back. But it has struggled to convince potential buyers that it has the chops for serious off-roading.

That’s about to change, or see Chevy hopes, with the launch of the Colorado ZR2, the production version of a diesel-powered, 2014 concept truck. Buyers will actually get the choice of gas or diesel, but the real news is that the ZR2 will be the first production off-road vehicle to use Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve, or DSSV damper technology. That translates into a smooth, controlled ride both on-road and off.

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Already found on the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro models, and even on some Formula 1 race cars, Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “The ZR2 applies that same philosophy to off-road performance,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors global product development chief. “You can go rock crawling on Saturday, desert running on Sunday, and comfortably drive to work on Monday. This truck can do it all, and do it all well.” (more…)

Ram Boss Says Room for Two in Midsize Truck Line-Up

Jeep Wrangler-based option already in the works.

by on Mar.31, 2016

Are Fiat Chrysler officials considering adding a second midsize pickup to its line-up for the Ram brand?

Fiat Chrysler wouldn’t be the first automaker ever to change course.

After months of denying it has any interest in returning to the midsize truck segment that is expanding like wildfire an FCA official hinted at the possibility of not one offering but two.

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“I think there’s opportunity there in the US if you look at what’s happened in the mid-size segment here – significant growth last year,” Jeep and Ram boss Mike Manley told the Detroit News. (more…)

Chevy Colorado Nabs Motor Trend Truck Honors

Midsize model tops Ford’s new F-150.

by on Dec.03, 2014

The 2015 Chevy Colorado wins a big endorsement from Motor Trend with its annual Truck trophy.

In something of a surprise, Chevrolet’s new midsize Colorado pickup truck outgunned the favored Ford F-150 to nab top honors as Motor Trend Truck of the Year.

The decision was a vindication for General Motors which is betting heavily on a revival of the once wildly popular midsize truck segment despite a huge fall-off in demand over the last two decades. GM itself walked away from the segment earlier in the decade before returning with two much more modern offerings, the Chevy Colorado and the near-twin GMC Canyon.

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“Colorado is a smart, capable, and refreshingly honest truck that makes a strong value and efficiency statement,” declared Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Ed Loh. “It’s perfectly sized and suited for the needs of many of today’s truck users.”

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GM Boosts Production as Sales Surge for Midsize Colorado, Canyon Pickups

Maker will add 3rd shift, 750 jobs at Missouri plant.

by on Sep.16, 2014

Chevrolet will offer both a fuel-efficient I-4 engine and a more powerful V-6, with a diesel coming a year later.

With sales exceeding initially cautious expectations, General Motors plans to sharply boost production of its new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups.

GM will add a third shift at the plant in Wentzville, Missouri that produces the two midsize trucks. That move will create another 750 jobs at the factory, which also produces the Chevy Express and GMC Savanna full-size vans. GM had previously invested $513 million at the Wentzville plant to handle the addition of the new pickups, creating 1,315 jobs in the process.

Keep on Truckin'!

The maker has taken an unusually large number of early orders for the Colorado and Canyon models, it says, about 30,000 so far. There had been plenty of concern that GM might miss the mark with the two trucks considering the decline in the midsize segment over the last two decades.

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GM Continues Push Leadership in Midsize Truck Segment

Maker lets buyers “build their own” with online tool.

by on Sep.04, 2014

Buyers anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new Chevrolet Colorado can use the maker's "Build Your Own" online tool to price out a new one.

Potential buyers anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new Chevrolet Colorado, the brand’s new midsize pickup, have a reason to rush to their nearest computer: they can build their own.

The maker is introducing its “Build Your Own” online tool for buyers who want to sift through the various options available on the new truck. The tool will be made available for its sibling, the GMC Canyon, in the coming weeks.

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“Our truck lineup is all about giving truck buyers choice,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “With the Build Your Own site, Colorado customers can equip their truck, request a quote from the dealer and even get a price on their trade-in.” (more…)

Nissan Teases New Pickup

Frontier set for global unveiling next week.

by on Jun.03, 2014

Nissan will initially launch the next-generation Frontier model -- also known as the Navarra - abroad.

It could be a big year ahead for Nissan in the truck category. The maker has already confirmed that it will unveil an all-new version of its full-size Titan at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, and now it is sending out a Twitter heads-up alerting the world that it will pull the wraps off a second pickup next week.

“There’s a special member of the #Nissan family on the way. Due date: June 11th,” the maker revealed, adding an image of a gauze-covered truck that TheDetroitBureau.com has confirmed is the next-generation Frontier model.

The New Frontier!

“The Nissan Frontier is a very important part of the Nissan lineup and of our truck growth strategy for the U.S.,” the maker responded to a query from TheDetroitBureau.com. “We remain committed to midsize pickup segment where the U.S.-built Nissan Frontier is the second-best selling truck in the market.  Here in the U.S., we’re gearing up for next year’s launch of the all-new full-size Nissan Titan.”

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VW, Jeep Again Looking at Options for U.S. Pickups

A resurgent midsize pickup segment could draw new contenders.

by on Mar.06, 2014

The current VW Amarok is not sold in the U.S. market and may be too small to import.

Only a few years ago, the pundits were writing off full-size pickups as dinosaurs set to vanish from the market. But last year they set their best sales mark since the crash of the U.S. automotive market.  Now, many analysts are starting to rethink forecasts predicting the demise of the midsize truck segment.  That apparently includes product planners for both Volkswagen AG and Jeep.

In recent years, the segment has dwindled to insignificance and key players like Ford and Chrysler have abandoned their entries. Ford actually developed a new version of its Ranger for global markets but decided against bringing it to the States.

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But with General Motors counter-programming, as it were, with the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models, might other manufacturers follow?

There are several who continue to consider their options, including both of the Korean carmakers, Hyundai and Kia.  But the makers most likely to take some action could be Detroit-based Jeep, and German giant Volkswagen AG — which already has an option available, the midsize Amarok pickup it sells in a wide range of overseas markets.

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GMC Canyon Aims to Draw Buyers Back to Midsize Pickups

If GMC builds it, will they come?

by on Jan.12, 2014

The 2015 GMC Canyon makes its world debut in Detroit. The midsize pickup truck delivers 193 horsepower.

To paraphrase the familiar quote from the film, “Field of Dreams,” if General Motors builds it, will they come?  Midsize pickups, that is.  And with the launch of the 2015 GMC Canyon at the North American International Auto Show, the Detroit maker is bucking a trend that’s seen this once wildly popular market segment dwindle to little more than an insignificant niche.

Over the last couple years, both of GM’s cross-town competitors have abandoned the midsize pickup segment leaving only Toyota and Nissan to carve up the relatively few remaining buyers.  Back in the 1970s, midsize trucks actually outsold full-size models, and sales still were in the million range in the ‘90s. But in 2013, demand dipped to a mere 227,000.

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That was a 14% year-over-year decline even as big rigs like the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra were enjoying a huge turnaround, collective sales surging to 1.9 million, up from just 1.1 million during the depths of the recession.

Despite that downward trend, GM introduced the all-new Chevrolet Colorado during the L.A. Auto Show last November and is following up with the sibling GMC Canyon in Detroit.

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Honda Offers Glimpse of Next-Gen Ridgeline Pickup

New truck due in "less than two years."

by on Dec.10, 2013

A new sketch hints at what will be the reborn Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup.

While Honda plans to pull the plug on its edgy little Ridgeline pickup at the end of the 2014 model-year, the maker isn’t walking away from what some analysts believe could become a newly resurgent market segment.

A sketch released by the Japanese maker offers a hint of what the next-generation Honda Ridgeline will look like, an accompanying release suggesting the next-gen pickup “will come to market in less than two years.”

Keep on Truckin'!

As with the soon-to-disappear version of the Ridgeline, the next model is being developed in the U.S., its prime market. Work is being split between the Honda R&D Americas operations in Los Angeles and Ohio.

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Chevrolet Downsizes with New Colorado Pickup

GM brand will return to midsize compact truck segment.

by on Nov.20, 2013

With the launch of the 2015 Colorado, Chevrolet gets back into the midsize pickup game.

Does Chevrolet know something its Detroit rivals don’t? Then again, how it final figured out what key Japanese rivals have long known?  Those may seem like cryptic questions but the fact is that the General Motors brand — along with sibling GMC – is about to become the only domestic maker present in the midsize truck market currently owned by import rivals Toyota and Nissan.

The debut of the new Chevrolet Colorado is one of the big announcements at this year’s L.A. Auto Show.  It marks the return of GM’s biggest brand to the downsized pickup segment after a several-year absence during which rivals Ford and Chrysler also walked away from the once-huge compact truck market.

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It wasn’t quite as simple a decision as it might seem to introduce the new Colorado.  Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, small pickup trucks were hot.  They became an affordable alternative for Baby Boomers just getting their first set of wheels. But in recent decades, the market shifted and more and more buyers migrated to full-size pickups.  That’s why Ford dropped out of the market segment, abandoning the long-running Ranger (though it continues to sell a newer version overseas where full-size trucks are relatively rare).

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