By on June 11, 2012

Even though the gods of the Ren Cen saw fit to deliver us the Opel Astra, the capricious and jealous Dan Akerson still managed to deny his Chosen Ones the elusive diesel/manual body-on-frame SUV, leaving the faithful to wallow in a sea of front-drive, car-based gasoline powered crossovers that nobody ever buys. Ever.

The Thai-built Trailblazer shares a platform with the next-generation Colorado compact pickup. Despite extensive market research that suggests a potential market of 300 million Americans for the diesel version with the 5-speed manual version, GM has decided against bringing the Trailblazer to North America, leaving a gaping hole in its current lineup of the Traverse, Tahoe, Suburban and Colorado. Ultimately, GM’s move to ignore the healthy, oft-neglected “former 4.0 Cherokee owner” market will result in their eventual downfall, especially if the Holden Commodore SS Ute never makes it to North America.


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34 Comments on “GM Debuts Diesel Manual Body-On-Frame SUV Despite Giving Us The Astra...”

  • avatar

    Plans to revive detroit based production of American Axle, GM Grand Rapids diesel and Detroit Truck and Bus final assembly have been nixed in response to the cancellation of the JimmyBlazerTyphoonSierraClassicCustomDeluxWTFTDI. Akerson’s tears will be used to purify the Flint River and substituted for currency in the next UAW contract’s COLA.

  • avatar

    Dammit, why does GM insist on only selling the good stuff overseas?

    Ford and Chrysler are doing a little bit better on this front, though they still have a long way to go…

    • 0 avatar

      Probably has a lot to do with the demand being amongst auto site bloggers – who have a history of being unwilling to actually buy (as a new vehicle) whatever vehicle they’re demanding should it actually show up for sale

    • 0 avatar

      Because, as Syke said, that’s the only place people actually buy them.

      The actual non-enthusiast market for stick-shift diesel body-on-frame SUVs in the US is so minuscule it’s no wonder they’re not bothering – especially since what there is for that demand seems, as far as I can tell, for non-luxxed-up minimalist machines like the old LandCruiser/Range Rover type … which is not exactly popular or profitable now.

      • 0 avatar

        I call Bull!

        There are plenty of potential buyers. There is no supply and hasn’t been for long. How do you support your claim?

      • 0 avatar

        Put a solid axle under the front and give me a somewhat spartan interior and My first trip when I get home from the Stahn’ would be to blow my deployment money on one and trade in my Land Cruiser. I realize the solid axle is probably wishful thinking unless I get a jeep so I can compromise on that if the rest is robust.

        And LandCrusher is right. A quick check of the prices on used vehicles (Wrangler’s, old Cruisers, etc) of this type will show this to be the case. The buyers are there but they have to buy used.

        I love my 80 series, but 12 miles a gallon makes waaay fewer weekend trips to wheel and camp. I have some experience with the export market small trucks given my current location and a 5 speed with a diesel would make me forgive the independant front suspension they all seem to have.

        Wont happen though. As to not being profitable, Jeep does OK and I believe Toyota made money on the FJ cruiser which is pretty much just the Land Cruiser Prado the rest of the world gets with a ridicolous body on it. Looks like I’ll be stuck taking crap off of my 80 to get the truck I want.

    • 0 avatar

      Chrysler deserves kudos for keeping the Wrangler alive, it is arguably the only SUV left among the Big 3’s offerings. I’d count the Liberty but it is committing CUVacide soon.

      Soccer moms and seniors may have moved on to the CUV but a market for rugged SUVs existed prior to the craze of the 90’s so there is no reason to think that it does not exist now.

      My ’96 Bronco goes up in value every year and it isn’t because gas is getting any cheaper. The reality is that a comparable replacement isn’t available and won’t be for the foreseeable future.

  • avatar

    Why do you actively want diesels? Surely they’re a necessary evil for saving money rather than something desirable….

    • 0 avatar

      I actively want to save money?

      • 0 avatar

        As someone who drives a rest-of-world diesel body-on-frame truck with a manual gearbox (and it’s the best of the bunch, having exhaustively test driven them and owned several varieties), I can say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The reality is worse than the myth.

        Although it is damn economical, and better than the US market engines in the same vehicle, although that’s just because they’re particularly bad.

    • 0 avatar

      mileage, torque, towing ability. pick any three.

      reasonable people who buy body-on-frame SUVs on purpose (instead of buying them because they’re following trends or whatever) tend to value these things.

  • avatar

    Once again, first one to re offer a solid body on frame fleet vehicle with good mileage and reliability wins.

  • avatar

    Okay, I understand the allure of diesel, in this time of high fuel prices. But what’s the appeal of body on frame? Unless you’re going to use your SUV regularly in really rough terrain (which US SUVs never do, they’re just for dropping off kids at school and go to malls and fast food drive ins), won’t body on frame be superior?

  • avatar

    “That is humor. I recognize that.” -Good Morning, Vietnam

  • avatar

    You might want to put a disclaimer at the bottom, just so you don’t confuse people. *Article may or may not contain sarcasm*.

  • avatar

    GMC’s bringing back the Motorhome, too…but ONLY in Namibia.

  • avatar

    Also, it is TRUE that there is tiny market in the US for a manual diesel. Can you blame GM for not offering it?

  • avatar

    Ford/Chevy are right that Americans want 30+ MPG compact SUV’s.

    I don’t know that VW/Mercedes are similarly wrong though in perceiving that some Americans will pay a premium for diesel’s, with US diesel sales up about 35 to 40 percent year over year. The Cruze, JGC, CX5 and others might continue the recent sales increases for this powertrain option.

  • avatar

    Modern diesels aren’t as bulletproof as the old ones which really weren’t the be all end all except that they would last for seemingly ever if maintained reasonably. Modern gasoline engines are reasonably good and auto grand are good as well. Modern unibody is a hundred times better than it was decades ago, but if you plan to stress a car, and value longevity beyond the first engine, then BoF is still king.

    Cab and Cop and other fleet managers all seem to agree. Make a decent BoF vehicle for these fleets and you get all the orders

  • avatar

    One only has to look at the stunning success of the solid front axle, manually shifted transfer case Ford Super Duty trucks to realize there IS a huge market for rigs like these. If you wear a tie to work every day, don’t waste server space responding to this,YOU are the tiny minority in this country…the very one’s whose children can’t even change a light bulb…

  • avatar

    …“former” 4.0 Cherokee owner?

    Who said anything about former? Honestly though, I would love a modern alternative to the Cherokee. Is the market for a smallish, sturdy, reliable 4X4 SUV that tiny? The nameplate has been dead for 11 years but I see dozens on the road every day, not counting my own daily driver. Clean used examples sell for thousands more than they should on Craigslist. There has to be a market for something like this, right?

  • avatar

    GM has a dozen great business cases for never making anything I’d actually buy. I probably buy at least two new cars a year, and am well on my way to at least three this year though. Oh well. They don’t care about me. I won’t care when they’re gone.

  • avatar

    I want one

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