Chevy Colorado: Debuts in. . . Bangkok

The Chevy Colorado was “all-new” as a 2004 model.

The Chevy Colorado was “all-new” as a 2004 model. Which meant that the Colorado made its appearance in 2003. Which is to say that the Chevy Colorado--tweaks, mods, and changes notwithstanding—is a little long in the tooth. Of course, the midsize truck market in the U.S. isn’t what it once was, either, given the facts that (1) not only did the Recession and gas prices of a couple years ago take the air right out of what was an ever-inflating segment but (2) the OEMs, in their competitive zeal to sell their full-size pickups, really made it economic appealing to buy big rather than mid-size.

Be that as it may, there are still places where midsize trucks have a whole lot of resonance and appeal. . . .

Like Thailand.

According to Roberto Rempel, General Motors’ global vehicle chief engineer, “Pickups are instrumental in the vibrant Thai economy and owners take great pride in their trucks, which are used for both work and personal driving. These customers ask a lot of their trucks, so the powertrains and chassis must be very robust to earn their trust—and that’s exactly what we delivered.”

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Rempel is talking about the Colorado Show Truck, which is having its global debut not in New York or Los Angeles, but at the Bangkok International Auto Show.

Explains Susan Docherty, vice president, General Motors International Operations Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, “Thailand is the world’s largest market for midsize pickups, so this was the perfect location in which to unveil our new Colorado.”

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And as we’re on a roll quoting people, here’s Brad Merkel, GM’s global vehicle line executive on the Colorado: “Although this is a show vehicle, the basic proportions and form convey the vision for the next-generation Colorado that we will bring to market.”

As vehicle manufacturers are generally developing show vehicles that are close to what production vehicles will look like for the simple reason that it is more economically sensible to do so, chances are this isn’t far from what will be.

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The show vehicle has an extended cab body. Which will probably stay. The rear-hinged rear doors (a.k.a., “suicide doors”)—probably not. The high-stance AWD chassis and 20-in. wheels—probably trim-level options. A 2.8-liter turbo-diesel—probably in non-U.S. markets. LED turn signal indicators in the side mirrors? Unlikely. 3D-like gauges in the instrument panel. Probably. Leather with contrasting trim? Likely.

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Bottom line to all this is that there is a new midsize truck coming. And significantly, Chevrolet is being positioned in GM’s portfolio as an international brand, so while it may have been “The Heartbeat of America,” when places like Thailand are the biggest market for particular product, Chevy is going to make sure that it gets the beat right wherever it is.