Chevrolet is to unveil the all-new Chevrolet TrailBlazer in Thailand tomorrow, March 21st. The launch will be broadcast online and the launch event pre-empts the Bangkok International Motor Show which kicks off next week.
Although the image above would make it seem like there is still some mystery about the look of the new SUV, much of the mystery is already spoiled by previous unveils of pre-production version of the new Trailblazer, and what we already know of the new Colorado on which the Trailblazer is based, and which is already on sale.
So rather than waiting for tomorrow's launch, let's look at what we already know.
The Chevrolet Cruze is purring along quite nicely in Thailand, but while other markets have a hatchback option, we are still limited to a "standard-for-Thailand" sedan version. Mazda and Ford are alone in offering hatchbacks in this segment, and it seems unlikely that Chevrolet with join that particular war, but there is another Cruze that might make it to Thailand: The Chevrolet Cruze Estate.
With the 2011 Bangkok International Motor Show just weeks away, Chevrolet has released a teaser image of its forthcoming Colorado pickup truck. The truck will be previewed at the Bangkok show, but in preproduction form.
The decision by GM to use the 32nd Bangkok International Motor Show to take the wraps off the new design is hardly surprising. One tonne pickup trucks are very popular in Thailand, and in 2010 over 40% of all vehicles sold in the kingdom were in this category.
Chevy has done okay in Thailand so far. Chevrolet has some interesting models that offer something a little different when compared to the competition, and the prices have been right. For example, the Optra Estate is the only real option for those looking for a budget estate car, while the Captiva brings 7-seater practicality and diesel power to the SUV market.
Vehicles like these have allowed Chevrolet to keep the sales charts ticking over. On the other hand, Chevy's mainstream cars haven't really gained much traction. The Aveo did okay, but bland styling and lacklustre performance don't help its cause in what is a very important segment.
Thailand is an amazing country, full of verity and choice. Fruit, for many western countries, means that you will be looking at apples, oranges, bananas, and seasonal berries most of which are imported anyway. In contrast, Thailand offers a staggering array of locally grown fruits.
The country is blessed with natural beauty that attracts millions of tourists annually. And by and large Thailand is a very interesting place to visit, complete with a rich and proud history and culture. But.... this is a car site. And writing about Cars in Thailand isn't always all that interesting. In fact, truth be told, the Thai auto market is bland as can be.
Why is this the case? Do Thai's not have good Taste in cars?
Paul Tan has popped up a brief post stating some details about the launch of the Chevrolet Cruze in Malaysia. Thailand is still waiting for this car!
Malaysia is not getting much choice in engines, and the car is imported from Korea. Clearly this strategy wouldn't be a success in Thailand, since it would be impossible to compete with locally built alternatives.
Isn't it amazing how little the car has changed? And when you see something like this from Chevrolet, you'd wonder why something so simple hadn't been thought of before now.
The Chevrolet Cruze seems to be turning into something of a pleasant surprise. The strong performance on the Euro NCAP, the interesting design both inside and out, and the seeming good value for money. And then there are little things like this:
Of course when sold in Thailand, the Chevrolet Cruze will not be as generously appointed when it comes to safety specification. Still, the platform looks extremely strong. And hopefully Chevrolet will raise the bar for this segment by offering side and curtain air-bags at least as options.
It seems like years since I wrote this about the Cruze, and ... yeah it was in 2008! So where is it? It seems usual now for the Thai market to have to wait for a car to go stale first. Mitsubishi did this with the Lancer, and it seems that Chevrolet are doing the same with the Cruze.
Fans of the GM brand shouldn't have to wait much longer though, and while we wait here is another glimpse of the car this time in the form of a short promo video.
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In this article we take a look at the Chevrolet Volt and try to work out if it is really worth waiting for. Will it actually give the Prius a run for its money? Is it the way forward?
What is the Volt?
The Chevrolet Volt is GM's answer to the assault of the Toyota Prius. The Prius is the top selling hybrid car in the world. When the Volt project was announced, oil prices were climbing steadily higher, pushing more and more buyers away from the SUVs that GM had been enjoying so much success with in the preceding years.
GM finally woke up to the threat posed by a combination of high oil prices and the apparent surge in popularity of affordable hybrid cars. The company reacted in true American fashion, by setting their engineers a seemingly impossibly difficult task to complete in an impossibly small time frame. The Volt was that task.
GM/Holden is to take advantage of a Federal Government AUS$6 billion car plan, and build a four-cylinder car in Australia starting in 2010. The car is to be based on the Chevrolet Cruze, a global car that GM hopes will help to turn things around.
Sales at this years Thai Motor Expo were actually pretty reasonable considering the current political and economic difficulties that Thailand is facing. Approximately 14,000 cars were ordered at the Expo which was attended by around 1.5 million visitors.
There are no surprises at the top of the sales table, with Toyota and Honda leading the pack with 4,193 and 2,552 bookings respectively. Business as usual really! Third place went to Isuzu with 1,760, which might seem like a big gap until you remember that they only sell trucks and truck derived SUVs.