GM’s Midsize Chevy Colorado Debuts

Thailand.

Thailand.

Although this country in Southeast Asia may not seem like a place where Chevrolet would launch its new midsize pickup truck the Colorado, consider this, a description of the country from the CIA The World Factbook:

“With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2007 - averaging more than 4% per year - as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports - mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry - continue to drive the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand's exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted 2.2%. In 2010, Thailand's economy expanded 7.6%, its fastest pace since 1995, as exports rebounded from their depressed 2009 level. Antigovernment protests during March-May and the country's polarized political situation had - at most - a temporary impact on business and consumer confidence. Although tourism was hit hard during the protests, its quick recovery helped boost consumer confidence to new highs. Moreover, business and investor sentiment remained buoyant as Thailand's stock market grew almost 5% during the three-month period. The economy probably will continue to experience high grow well into 2011.”

That political unrest notwithstanding, arguably the Thai economy as described is something that many in the U.S. and Europe would be most certainly jealous of.

GM Thailand president Martin Apfel described the truck as “GM’s most significant play in the midsize pickup truck market ever.”

GM spent $2-billion (including $500-million for preparing GM Thailand’s Rayong manufacturing plant to make the truck) and five years on the program to develop the truck on its global body-on-frame, rear-drive, midsize truck architecture.

And Thailand wasn’t the only country in the development process.

A team of GM engineers in. . .Brazil led the development of the Colorado. Some of the team members lived in Thailand during the development.

The Colorado design came out of the GM South America Design Center.

The truck is being offered in the Thai market with two Duramax turbo-diesels, a 180-hp, 2.5-liter and a 150-hp 2.8-liter. These engines are manufactured in GM Thailand’s newly opened, $200-million engine plant.

There are two transmissions, a five-speed manual and a Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic. A new two-speed electronically actuated part-time transfer case is used on four-wheel-drive vehicles.

There are three cab styles: regular, extended, and crew.

According to GM, it will be offered “in more than 60 markets around the world.”

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