By on May 5, 2020

gm

Your author can’t explain why his neighbor purchased a new Chevrolet Blazer Premier, but he can understand why General Motors felt the need to insert a new crossover between the Equinox and Traverse. CUV white space = $$$, I think the famous equation goes.

With this in mind, the existence of the new Chevrolet Trailblazer, slotted between the Trax and Equinox, is equally understandable. Boasting a brace of three-bangers and more space and MPGs than a Trax, the decidedly non-BOF Trailblazer serves as a larger stepping stone to the Chevy brand.

Timing, however, was not the Trailblazer’s strong suit.

Having just barely reached its on-sale date, the model’s manufacturer, GM Korea, has announced a production cut. Guess the reason. Could it be that the automaker smells deep-sixed demand?

You bet. Per  documents seen by Reuters, GM Korea claims it will operate its BP1 plant in Incheon for just seven days in May, citing both reduced demand from overseas customers and a supply chain disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Just how much the latter issue factors into the plant’s tepid output remains unknown; however, the company did mention difficulty in procuring wiring harnesses from its Phillipines-based supplier.

A company spokesperson told Reuters that this month’s production plan could change. Trailblazer assembly kicked off in January, just in time for a string of pandemic woes. Examples of the new model have made it to the U.S., where the little tweener is officially on the market. A Chevrolet spokesperson clarified GM Korea’s remarks about U.S. sales, telling Roadshow that Trailblazers are on sale stateside, and that the automaker is “working closely with our global manufacturing teams and key suppliers to address production and logistical challenges resulting from COVID-19.”

Given the state of the new vehicle market in the U.S., many minty 2021 Trailblazers found on Cars.com are already advertised with discounts.

[Images: General Motors]

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49 Comments on “GM’s Newest Tweener Limps Out of the Gate...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    The Trailblazer only makes sense as far as GM is concerned. Essentially the replacement for the Cruze, MSRPs are a little bit higher trim for trim (assuming you compare FWD only), but transaction prices are bound to be higher. They were giving away the Cruzes.

    Of course, customers are getting a boxy looking 3 cylinder crossover with worse MPGs than the Cruze it replaces.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      Hideous, under-performing, non-competitive product that looks like a chore to drive. It’s no exaggeration to say that GM is at the nadir of, or worse off than, than malaise-era GM.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Why ruin another older name with this? Presumably, this is on the same platform as the Bruick Encore GX, right? Then just call it the Trax GX. Or Trax XL if you want to be different!

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Time to start GM Death Watch again.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Is there a word worse than ugly that I can use without getting banned? I can never own anything with a front end that looks like that!!!

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      I still think the current Silverado front end is SO bad, it makes this CUV look like a 911.

      Who the F looked at that truck and said “Now that’s a great design! Off to the assembly line!”

      • 0 avatar
        puddleJumper

        There’s a reason for that hideous Silverado design – get’s people to forget about what a cheap piece of junk the rest of the truck is.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Looks more to me like Chevy’s planning on phasing out everything but the Blazer and just having four different iterations of one vehicle, depending on just how large you want it.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      It’s too bad GM murder-death-killed Oldsmobile long ago.

      It can be called anything you want as long as it’s a Cutlass. This could be the Cutlass Pigsticker.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @tankinbeans: Well, I agree with one part; I was a great fan of the 60s and 70s Cutlass but by no means would I begin to consider this thing named after such a great car as those were. Oh, I like the new Blazer but even then I had to work to get past what the name Blazer used to mean. I couldn’t do that with one given the Cutlass name.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I’ll say it’s probably a good car. But being a good car isn’t good enough anymore, and COVID is showing us that.

    You won’t find a bigger critic of that CUV “white space” than I am. I know the Equinox has grown a bit, and the Trax is relatively new. But the fact that we’re already slotting something in between them is proof that chasing market share (by segment) is all most large car firms are doing now. There was nothing wrong with having the Equinox serve almost all of those buyers across broader trimlines. But that doesn’t look good when you have to see market reports where the competition has 6 CUVs and you only have 3.

    My family and I keep talking about the silver linings of the pandemic. Family walks, board games, spending more time together, cooking.

    If the number of CUV market offerings are cut in half in the next couple years, I’ll be cheering.

  • avatar
    GenesisCoupe380GT

    Embarrassing. GM can’t even do mediocrity right. At least the old Trailblazer had a SS version of it

  • avatar
    smartascii

    I’d guess the Venn diagram of “Buy American!” and “I want a 3-cylinder” is just two circles that don’t touch.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Look we all hate it but I confidently predict that it will sell in numbers that the product planners who greenlit the Cruze only dreamed about.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      You honestly think this will sell over 250,000 units a year, like the Cruze did at its peak?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        2nd gen Cruse (which was cancelled) got to just under 189,000 in it’s best year. I wouldn’t not be surprised to see the Trailblazer hit 200,000.

        It’s cheaper than the Trax, it’s larger, and if you bump into someone who drives a Trailblazer there’s a 99% chance that they will have no idea how many cyl it has.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Based on my (limited) GM experiences as well as other folks I know, I’d much rather spend my money with H-K. And I’m not sold on the benefits of a 3 cylinder…

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      The three cylinder doesn’t have benefit anyone other than the manufacturer who saves money on the casting. It is inherently unbalanced and prone to excessive vibration. At this rate, Kohler and Briggs & Stratton are going to be competitive in the automotive industry. Even their v-twins are structurally superior to an inline 3.

  • avatar
    AlexMcD

    This leaves the door open to killing the Trax.

    I do note that GM is still the world leader in the Anti-visibility league.

    3/4 of the car is opaque at eye level. I have driven these pigs and the nanny tones are the only warning that the motorcycle, bicyclist or sports car is within 10 feet of me. I drove an Impala for 2 miles without any idea that a corvette was immediately behind me in suburban driving. Not visible in any mirror or window until I got to the bottom of a hill and it was high enough behind to become visible.

    The Camaro chassis would be even stiffer if they cut out the “window” sections and welded the roof to the top of the trunk and hood.

  • avatar
    gasser

    In the first gas crisis in 1973, we used to joke that soon we would all be driving 2 cylinder cars. Fast forward to 2020 and we’re very close with 3 cylinders becoming common. These engines will never last 200,000 miles and so the average age of autos will begin to fall back. Peak oil production….IDK. Peak of ICE production, we’re past it.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      We are nowhere near peak-ICE production but you have a point about the automakers wanting to scale back on long-term reliability. A person who purchases a 5.3 Tahoe can expect to see between 300,000 and 400,000 miles before needing major service.

      This has the potential to backfire miserably upon the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        Of course, maintaining the rest of the car will become a nightmare……..

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        I don’t think people who buy new $50-70k Tahoes care how long they last. But durability drives up resale value, and the first buyer cares about that…

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @smartascii: I may be concerned about durability but not for resale; I simply don’t consider resale value because I keep a vehicle until I can no longer trust it. Of my last several vehicles purchased new, the SHORTEST ownership was 9 years while the longest was 11 years. Resale value by then is almost irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        200K then after I’m not as sure. Unless religiously maintained the truck will have at least one expensive repair by then. This isn’t the SBC/4L60.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    A commenter above noted this may replace the Trax. That would be my bet as well.

    I predict the same with Mazda. The new CX-30 will likely mean the end of the CX-3 in the USA.

    Trax, CX-3 etc are just too small for the USA. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Eco-Sport joins them. Though Ford doesn’t have any other sub-escape at the moment. Perhaps the baby bronco will fill that one.

    We all knock these cars. Me too. But we have to keep in mind a couple things. We here are not people shopping appliances. There is a huge part of the population that doesn’t give a hoot about cars, engines, 200,000 mile durability etc. they want a cheap lease, decent styling, and don’t care passes 80,000 miles. This car is for those people. GM knows this. Toyota has the 200,000 mile drive it forever crowd as their customer base.

    Second, as pointed out, this has to do better financially for GM than the Cruze ever did. Seen in that light it also makes sense.

    Bottom line is it looks decent, it’s a crossover which is what everyone wants, it will lease well, the buyers of it don’t care about it lasting forever or even know what a cylinder or a turbocharger is, and it will be better for GMs bottom line.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      From what I can tell — across all socioeconomic strata — the Trax sold like crap. The numbers may tell a different story because maybe there’s a Trax Cult in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, or something like that.

      But to date, I’ve seen 100+ Buick Encores for every Trax. And I support the Encore for one main reason: If we can get 80- and 90-something drivers into a Buick that can do less damage in a wreck, and is less likely to back into me in a parking lot, I’m all for it. And that’s exactly what I see in terms of its customers.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Then they should just announce it as the Trax’s replacement and mark down the Trax. I think they are going to sell both and see how it goes.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Looks like a MINI in drag.

    Blech.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I do not like it. That’s really all I’ll say. But we’ll see if this situation really shrinks any CUV segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Superdessuke: I will argue that I like the appearance… but either give it a legitimate 200+ horses under the hood or make it an EV with 200+hp equivalent.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “but he can understand why General Motors felt the need to insert a new crossover between the Equinox and Traverse. CUV white space = $$$, I think the famous equation goes.”

    No, its just stupid. GM: We can create a handful of superfluous models, but an actual small truck? Geez can’t figure it out.

    “Having just barely reached its on-sale date, the model’s manufacturer, GM Korea, has announced a production cut.”

    See the USA in your Daeworolet.

    Given the labor issues in S. Korea this was probably created specifically to give them something to build. More lease only imported garbage from the company formerly known as General Motors.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Wow. The Best and Brightest show their usual form, which is to say, poor. It starts with headline, implying the car has had poor sales. Hmmm… Sure, it launched into the biggest wind-down of world economy ever seen. No, that’s no excuse. Clearly GM is clueless.

    Another SUV? Yes, B&B, that’s what sells. Look at all of the other manufacturer’s lineups, there’s a CUV for every segment, imagined and real. Clearly, GM is clueless.

    It’s so ugly and it has a 3 cylinder engine… If it had a different badge on it, it would be Deus Ex Machina. The vast majority of folks who would shop this car couldn’t even tell you how many cylinders matter.

    Jeebus, this place has gone downhill…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Another SUV? Yes, B&B, that’s what sells.”

      Some of these models are superfluous and really don’t need to exist. Even over a five year period, do the model’s profits make up for the cost not only to design/build but to *certify* it for USDM? How many of those models are *not* related to the other ones in the lineup?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I understand why it exists. That doesn’t mean I’m going to like it though.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        There is no reason for it to exist. Zero. Excluding Tahoe and Suburban which are different, there are currently *five* models which one or two may be different platforms but all accomplish the same mall crawling mission:

        Trax
        Trailblazer
        Equinox
        Blazer
        Traverse

        Five is entirely too many, hell four is pushing it. The one which seems to be the most out of place is the Blazer, because this model is probably intended to be the less sh!tty Trax and I’m sure for switch cars alone somebody wants the Trax. I still roll my eyes but dropping the Trax would sort of make this lineup OK, certainly still superfluous, but having a little more sense. Maybe keep Trax and not have this because Trax could also be a switch car to an Equinox lease? Ultimately, five models -heading into a global depression and most of which are superfluous- is probably not going to be helping supply chain or sales.

        Ironically I think the 10-16 Cadillac SRX actually made up 54% of all sales for several years because aside from the Escalade, it was the only game in town and it was good enough for a lot of buyers. Maybe bigger than some would like, maybe smaller than others, but they still bought the thing. I can’t say it was “good” because I don’t think it was, but it was the one product which could appeal to several buyers in part because of Cadillac’s poor planning in that it was the only model of its type available. I’m not up on GM’s platforms anymore but whatever the SRX was, model the Equinox after it. Same size, features, maybe only offer two retail trims and one fleet trim with *one good drivetrain*. Hey customer, I see you’re on a budget. I can put you in this Daewoo Trax POS or I can put you in an Equinox *lease* for a little bit more. Done. Now Equinox carries the volume to better leverage economies of scale, NOT spreading volume across *three* middle models. WTF? Idiots. I realize it may be as simple as give Daewoo a new model to build but still, idiots.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The author can’t explain why his neighbor got a Blazer but I’ll explain why I did: screaming good lease deal, well below a similar Equinox.
    And the 2.5 with the 9 speed is a really nice powertrain.

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      Same here! The author should learn more about how the industry he covers for a “living” actually works.

      My 2020 blazer RS with a 51k sticker leased at $400/mo on a 24mo / 30k term. Meanwhile a comparably loaded Honda Passport at 45k sticker is nearly 600/mo on similar terms. Only a fool focuses only on MSRP sticker prices. The H-K pallisade/telluride twins lease out even worse and the “B&B” act as if their made of gold. Again, fools.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Not the ugliest but not the most attractive either. The Buick version has nicer styling. This type of vehicle might help me kick my interest in cars. I might not ever buy a new Big 2 vehicle ever again especially if Hyundai comes out with a true compact pickup. As for crossovers I would go either Japanese or South Korean.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    Seven Days in May makes a far better movie than it does an automobile production schedule.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    If this car is equipped with a tri-banger, then the Trax should really be powered by a double banger. Or maybe just a one banger. Or a mono-banger. Or just a banger. Who will come out with the turbocharged one cylinder hybrid first?

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Selling cheaply made crap for a cheap price in order to stay alive for another month has been a big part of the GM business model since some time in the 1970s. They have made some great cars and trucks since then, but just about any vehicle they made which had a direct Japanese competitor was an embarrassing yugomobile by comparison. This has been true now for almost 50 freakin years!

    They have also wasted giant landfills full of money on endless “game-changer” and “moonshot” projects that have not changed the game and have not reached the moon, while generously rewarding the executives responsible for the failures.

    If GM has no credibility and gets no benefit of the doubt, it is their own fault. Bring on another pile of meh, GM. If I am too poor to buy a Toyota, I will see you in the sales office.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I don’t like the looks, and the 3 cyl engine is a “No thanks, I want (at least) a V6”. GM’s styling has just gone to shit over the last few years, and this is actually better than a couple of the other horrors they are putting out, or soon will be again.

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