New TrailBlazer shares much with new Colorado truck line - initial build will be in Thailand and Brazil

New TrailBlazer shares much with new Colorado truck line - initial build will be in Thailand and Brazil

Chevrolet has revealed, at the Dubai motor show, its revived TrailBlazer midsize SUV for global markets outside the US, beginning in Thailand - where it will be made - with sales starting early in 2012.

It's built on a new global midsize platform developed by GM do Brasil that also underpins the new line of Thai and Brazilian-built Colorado pickup trucks on sale in the Asia-Pacific region this autumn, and also destined for South America, Africa and the Middle East. It's due in the US in 2013. That has led to much media speculation in the US that GM will, eventually, launch the TrailBlazer there, building it locally alongside the Colorado.

Chevrolet describes the new TrailBlazer as its toughest, most refined midsize sport utility vehicle but has so far not confirmed it will be sold in the US, despite the growing popularity of smaller SUVs there due to high fuel prices. This decision reflects that for the GM Korea-built Orlando, recently launched in Canada and Mexico, but not the US.

The new-generation TrailBlazer is claimed to combine the hauling and towing capability of a body-on-frame SUV with the ride comfort and efficiency of a crossover. Developed in tandem with the Colorado in Brazil, it shares the same architecture and most of its styling with the truck but with the chassis tuned to combine heavy-duty off-road capability with refined city driving.

The show vehicle has all-wheel-drive system and GM’s new 2.8-litre Duramax turbodiesel engine with variable-geometry turbocharger.

"It is a reflection of the importance of the Middle East market for General Motors that a vehicle as important as TrailBlazer is making its global debut at this show,” said GM Middle East president and managing Director John Stadwick. “Without question, the new TrailBlazer will be one of the biggest and toughest members of the Chevrolet family – the perfect vehicle to take on the Middle East’s competitive midsize SUV segment.

“Although this is a show vehicle, the overall design is faithful to the production version that will arrive in Chevrolet showrooms next year. TrailBlazer will be the ideal fit, not only for consumers in the Middle East, but in every place around the world where it will be sold.”

According to Brad Merkel, GM’s global vehicle line executive for midsize trucks and SUVs, the TrailBlazer offers the strength, design, capability and refinement needed to compete with the world’s best off-road vehicles.

“The growing markets of the world want flexibility. That means power and capability combined with comfort and efficiency,” Merkel said. “TrailBlazer does it all. You can tow anything, go anywhere, comfortably seat seven people, and do so with the fuel efficiency associated with a smaller, less capable vehicle. It’s the complete package.”

The 'original' Chevrolet TrailBlazer was introduced in 1999 as a better equipped variant of the Blazer. In 2002 the model was upgraded to a new platform (GMT360 for 5 passenger models, GMT370 for 7 passenger, and GMT305 for the Envoy XUV). Production of the Blazer overlapped with the TrailBlazer until 2005, when the two-door was sold at dealers while the four-door was fleet only (until the 2004 model year). The two-door Blazer was replaced by the Chevrolet Equinox after 2005.

In contrast to the new model's I4 turbodiesel, the North American predecessors had large I6 and V8 engines. It was widely exported and right hand drive versions were offered in markets such as the UK.

GM Brazil previously produced its own line of pickup trucks including a Blazer SUV spinoff. Flexible fuel versions were also offered.

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