While the Detroit Three dominate big pickups, Toyota Motor Corp. has become the top mid-size truck seller in the U.S. with its Tacoma. GM, which stopped building a mid-size pickup for the U.S. last year, is returning to the segment with a redesigned version of the Chevrolet Colorado, betting it can appeal to Toyota buyers.
The Colorado, which GM plans to reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show Nov. 20, extends an effort to offer a wider variety of pickups to U.S. shoppers than any other company. Along with the Colorado, GM will also offer a GMC version called the Canyon.
“The styling on the Colorado is unique enough that it’s going to raise some eyebrows and create some attention — and all of the attention that we can create bringing prospective buyers back to the Chevy showrooms is vital,” said Rick Alpern, who runs the Keyes Chevrolet auto dealership in Los Angeles.
“We have a three-truck strategy,” Maria Rohrer, marketing director of Chevy trucks, said in September during a presentation in Austin, Texas. “We believe that we ought to have a myriad of mid-size, full-size and heavy-duty. We’re the only ones that have all three.”
GM didn’t totally abandon its mid-size truck effort after stopping production for the U.S. A redesigned Colorado, which was revealed at the Bangkok Motor Show in 2011, is sold in 16 global markets, including Brazil, Thailand and Argentina.
While the new U.S. Colorado is built on the same platform as the one sold globally, it “has been pretty much re-engineered for North America because the customer needs are very, very different than they are in Thailand or Brazil,” Tom Wilkinson, a GM spokesman, said in a telephone interview.
Ford got out of the mid-size segment in 2011, saying customers prefer larger pickups. GM, embracing one of the few areas where it won’t fight head-to-head with Ford, is taking a risk. Ford, whose F-Series has been the best-selling truck for 36 years, only sells full-size and heavy-duty versions, as does Chrysler Group LLC’s Ram brand. Toyota doesn’t offer a heavy-duty pickup while offering full-size and compact trucks.