The completely-redesigned 2012 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck has been unveiled this past week in Thailand, where the new mid-size vehicle will initially be built, and General Motors has finally announced that the mid-size pickup will be sold in the United States likely for the 2013 model year.
The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado wasn't originally expected to make it to the U.S. due to tepid sales of it and its twin, the GMC Canyon, but the next-generation Colordao will be sold, and eventually built, here. Last month, evidence of the Colorado's U.S. production was uncovered in a contract that the automaker signed with the United Auto Workers union that specifically mentions the assembly of a vehicle fitting the Colorado's description at a plant in Wentzville, Missouri. By assembling the Thailand-sourced Chevrolet Colorado components on American soil, GM would be able to avoid the "Chicken Tax" tariff that has made importing foreign-built pickups prohibitively expensive for many manufacturers. The Colorado and Canyon are currently built in Shreveport, La., but this plant is closing next year.
The version of the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado that was shown off in Thailand as well as Europe (at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show) was a relatively compact model that featured a much more streamlined design than what was offered by the most recent edition of the American Colorado. The global pickup will come with a pair of turbodiesel four-cylinder engine options - a stark contrast to the four, five and eight-cylinder gasoline power plants traditionally offered by Chevrolet's U.S.-spec small truck - and feature the availability of both a five-speed manual and a six-speed automatic transmission.
It seems unlikely that the version of the Chevrolet Colorado that is bound for American showrooms would feature a range of diesel engines, as that particular type of power plant has typically been reserved exclusively by the domestic manufacturer for heavy duty trucks. It also remains to be seen how much of the Colorado's swoopy styling would make the cut in a market that views pickups as a fairly macho mode of transportation. Chevrolet will offer 26 different model configurations when the Colorado eventually goes on sale outside of the United States, and the vehicle will feature a much more modern platform and smoother, more comfortable driving characteristics compared to what was available from the last-generation Colorado.
That being said, news that GM is most likely not walking away from the mid-size truck segment is music to the ears of small truck fans, especially considering that this particular strategy could see Ford eventually import its own highly-praised global Ranger mid-size truck. Currently, the Toyota Tacoma is the sales leader for the mid-size truck segment, which has shrunk dramatically with the disappearance of the Ranger, the Colorado and the Dodge Dakota for the 2012 model year.
There has been no word whether GM also plans on offering a GMC-badged version of the next-gen Colorado.