Blazer will be added in 2019, positioned between the Equinox and Traverse

Blazer will be added in 2019, positioned between the Equinox and Traverse

After the recent analyses of the current and future models of Baojun, Wuling, GMC and certain Chevrolet vehicles, the latest feature in the GM series centres on Chevrolet's SUVs and pick-ups. Following this will be a look at what's ahead for Buick, then Cadillac, with Holden being the final chapter.

SUVs

The Trax is approaching the end of its life cycle. This small SUV is closely related to the Opel & Vauxhall Mokka and Buick Encore. It has been built alongside those vehicles at a GM Korea factory since December 2012.

GM also makes the Trax at a factory in Mexico. Vehicles have been exported from there to Brazil since October 2013 - the Brazilian market model has a 1.8-litre flex fuel engine and is sold as the Chevrolet Tracker. China's SAIC GM joint venture, meanwhile, began building the localised Trax Chuangku in March 2014.

The replacement for the Trax/Tracker/Chuangku might be delayed until 2020, which is when GM says its VSS-S architecture will appear. This is a global matrix of modules for FWD/AWD SUVs with unibody designs.

Even after the arrival of the second generation Trax/Tracker/Chuangku, certain plants will continue to make the original model. One such will be on a semi-knocked down (SKD) basis in Tashkent. There will also be CKD assembly at another location in Uzbekistan. This will take place at a factory in Asaka. Both facts were announced in August by Uzavtosanoat, one of the two companies in the Uzbek-GM joint venture. The Asaka plant, which has an annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles, has stamping, welding, painting and final assembly operations. Localisation is planned to be greater than 50 per cent.

Uzbek-GM markets its locally-assembled models as Chevrolets and exports them to certain countries as models for the Ravon brand.

GM Korea will build the next Trax/Tracker at its Bupyeong 2 plant. This facility has had its annual capacity lifted to 180,000 units from what had been as low as 65,000. A new body shop was installed during August in preparation for the arrival of the Trax.

General Motors is still trying to right-size its Korean manufacturing operations. The Bupyeong complex comprises two car plants, the second of which has been woefully under-utlilised in 2018. Bupyeong 1 is larger, with an installed yearly build rate of 270,000 cars and SUVs.

The little crossover will also be manufactured in Mexico, and in China too where it will again be marketed locally as the Trax Chuangku.

The 4,652mm long Equinox, one size up from the Trax, is one of GM's best selling models in North America. The current generation was revealed at the LA auto show during the final quarter of 2016.

Previously sold mainly in North American markets, the latest model is also built in China, manufactured by the SAIC GM joint venture at the firms' Wuhan plant since March 2017.

A facelift is due in late 2021 with the Equinox replacement expected in 2025. The next model will most likely switch to VSS-S. The current Equinox uses Global Delta.

Unlike the model of the same name manufactured by GM Korea for more than eight years between early 2020 and mid-2018, the new Orlando is built - initially at least - solely in China. Production is by the SAIC GM joint venture. The other major difference compared to the previous Orlando and this new one is the change in body style from minivan/MPV to crossover. Sales will commence at the end of this month with the life cycle expected to last until the second half of 2025 with a facelift in 2022.

GM will next year introduce an additional SUV for its North American line-up. The Blazer is to be positioned between the two-row Equinox and the three-row Traverse. It is closely related to the GMC Acadia as well as being effectively a short-wheelbase Chevy Traverse. GM sees it competing with the Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Murano.

Production will be at one of the two Ramos Arizpe plants in Mexico and trucks will be in US dealerships from early 2019. Expect a facelift for the 2023 model year and a replacement towards the end of CY2025.

The Chevrolet Colorado pick-up (see below) is the basis for another SUV, the TrailBlazer. This seven-seat model uses a body-on-frame construction and is sold in many countries although not the USA. Its world debut was at the Bangkok motor show in March 2012.

Following its June 2012 launch in Thailand, the TrailBlazer was rolled out to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as markets in the Middle East. There is a right-hand drive version for South Africa and India as well as another one for Australia (formerly Holden Colorado 7 but since October 2016, Holden Trailblazer).

GM do Brasil began building the TrailBlazer from November 2012. GM Russia commenced SKD assembly of the model at its St Petersburg plant, meanwhile, in April 2013. However, that plant was idled in mid 2015.

The next generation TrailBlazer is likely to be announced in Thailand in 2020.

Returning to the Chevy line-up in North America, one size up we find the Traverse. The current generation of this large crossover had its world debut at the Detroit auto show in January 2017, new for North America's 2018 model year. Sales commenced in October 2017.

Seating is for up to eight occupants and the standard engine for all variants with the exception of the RS is a 3.6-litre normally aspirated V6 linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission. For the RS, there is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine which has more torque than the V6.

Both front- and all-wheel drive Traverse variants are offered. The life cycle should be nine years with two facelifts: one in the second quarter of 2021 and the second in late 2023.

The latest Tahoe was new for North America's 2015 model year, entering production in late 2013. Sales began in North American markets from the first quarter of 2014. The standard engine for this large SUV is General Motors' 355hp 5.3-litre EcoTec3 V8 (L83). GM is yet to announce a 2019 model year Tahoe which likely means there will be a facelift and potentially, one or more new or updated engines as well as the 10L80 ten-speed automatic gearbox.

The next Tahoe is almost certain to use T1XX/VSS-T as its basis. Production is expected to be at Arlington Truck in Texas commencing in 2022 and ending in 2030.

The Suburban, a long-wheelbase Tahoe with its own body, is Chevy's largest SUV. The current model entered production in late 2013 for North America's 2015 model year. The GMC Yukon is the twin of the Tahoe and the Yukon XL is twinned with the Suburban.

The standard engine is General Motors' L83 V8. This is mated to a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. As with the Tahoe, there should be a facelift for the 2019 model year as well as powertrain updates.

The next Suburban will use GM's VSS-T (formerly known as T1XX) architecture and has the project code T1YC. While its size is not expected to shrink, the new model should be significantly lighter thanks to weight savings incorporated in the (aluminium/aluminum) body panels, powertrains and architecture.

Pick-ups

Chevy's smallest pick-up is the long-lived, front-wheel drive Montana. The second generation of this model was revealed to the media in Brazil in September 2010. It is sold mainly in South America, Mexico and some countries in Africa. In South Africa it is the Chevrolet Utility.

The next generation Montana is expected to be based upon GM and SAIC's GEM low cost front-wheel drive architecture. Should there be production in Mexico it may also be sold in the US and Canada. GM do Brasil will likely reveal this model in 2019 or 2020.

The Colorado (or S10 in some countries) is GM's smallest body-on-frame pick-up. Sold in multiple regions, it was first built at the Rayong plant in Thailand in October 2011 before being added at a factory in Brazil in February 2012.

US production takes place at the Wentzville plant which already built GM's full sized vans, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. The US and Canada's Colorado was added for the 2015 model year.

The Isuzu D-Max which was announced just days after the new Colorado is closely related to the Chevrolet, as is the GMC Canyon. The Chevrolet TrailBlazer, meanwhile, is an SUV variant of the current Colorado.

GM is yet to announce a 2019 model year Colorado for the US and Canada (it is the S10 in Mexico), suggesting that there might be a facelift later this year. The next Colorado/S10 is expected to appear in Thailand at the end of 2021.

The 2019 Silverado 1500 is Chevrolet's latest release, production of the new truck having just begun. The world first saw this vehicle at the Detroit show in January. It will eventually replace what is only a five year old model and for that reason, the old-shape 1500 continues in production for a while yet, renamed as the less expensive Silverado 1500 Classic.

The Silverado and its GMC Sierra twin are the first vehicles for T1xx, a fresh architecture, also known as VSS-T. The new truck has a roll-formed, high-strength steel bed floor. Unlike Ford's rival F-150, aluminium is not used for the frame. The lighter material is limited to hinged panels (doors, hood/bonnet and tailgate) but all fixed ones (fenders/wings, roof and bed) are steel.

GM is also offering the 2019 Silverado with a new 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel. The Duramax-branded in-line engine is manufactured at Flint Engine Operations. The General Motors RPO (Regular Production Option) code is LM2.

What will be the bigger selling powertrains are revised versions of General Motors' 5.3- and 6.2-litre pushrod petrol V8s. These are manufactured at Tonawanda Powertrain. One of the amazing things about these OHV designs is that up to seven of the eight cylinders can be shut down in certain conditions. The fewest number of cylinders which the previous 5.3- and 6.2-litre V8s could run on was four. GM calls the new cylinder deactivation technology Dynamic Fuel Management. This replaced Active Fuel Management.

The six- and eight-cylinder engines (3.0-litre diesel, 5.3-litre gasoline and 6.2-litre gasoline) are linked to a ten-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. One major change, aside from the addition of the diesel, is a new 'Tripower' 2.7-litre four-cylinder gasoline unit. Its outputs are 310hp and 348 lb-ft of torque. It is linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission and fitted as standard for RST and LT model grades.

The new four-cylinder turbo has an RPO code of L3B. It is built at GM's powertrain plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. It replaces the 285hp and 306 lb-ft 4.3-litre pushrod V6 in some trim levels, although that older engine continues to be available for the least expensive Silverados. The pushrod V6 is also made at Tonawanda Powertrain in New York state.

Expect an eight-year life cycle for the new Silverado 1500, which should mean a facelift in 2022 and a replacement in 2026.

The current Heavy Duty (HD) versions of the Silverado are likely to be in the final 12-24 months of production. As with previous generations of this full-sized pick-up family, the Silverado 2500HD & 3500HD are virtually identical to the GMC Sierra 2500HD & 3500HD. GMC division however, has the unique upscale Denali HD but Chevrolet has its own equivalent, the Silverado High Country HD. All are built alongside one another at two plants and went on sale across North America from the first quarter of 2014.

GM offers these trucks with the choice of a 397hp 6.6-litre Duramax diesel or a 360hp 6.0-litre Vortec (gasoline) V8. A 6.0-litre bi-fuel V8, which can run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas, is available on regular cab, crew-cab and double-cab Silverado 2500 and 3500 model variants. A version rated at 322 horsepower is standard on 3500s.

The transmission for the Duramax diesel is an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic, while other engines come with GM's Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic. A ten-speed automatic should eventually replace the 6L90 but this may not happen until the replacement models appear.

The next generation 2500HD and 3500HD should be introduced for the 2020 model year. They will use a modified version of the platform which is new for the 2019 Silverado 1500.

Navistar International is soon to begin manufacturing two medium-duty chassis cab pick-ups for General Motors. The Silverado 4500 Heavy Duty and 5500 Heavy Duty trucks were revealed at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis back in March.

GM has been absent from the Class 4 and Class 5 medium duty segment for many years, leaving Ford to do brisk business in this class. The new trucks have been developed for upfitters which will modify them for fleet and commercial buyers. Both regular cab and crew cab variants will be offered, along with RWD and 4WD.

Allison will supply the gearboxes and GM's own Duramax diesel V8 will feature.

Recent reports for many other manufacturers' future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on the past, current and forthcoming models for General Motors brands can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.

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