By Mark Kleis
Wednesday, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 3:56 am
 
General Motors has already confirmed that its Thailand-designed next-generation Chevrolet Colorado pickup will indeed be built and sold in the United States, stating: "We think the design, capability and fuel efficiency of the new Colorado will make it attractive to U.S. customers."

But previous estimated timelines painted a picture that included a Colorado in the U.S. as early as next year, when in reality it will likely not arrive until the 2014 calendar year and 2015 model year, according to GMInsideNews. That updated timeline can be explained with a series of things that need to happen before the truck can arrive in the U.S., ranging from production needs to planned design changes.

For starters, the "global" truck was designed for many global markets, but the U.S. was not a primary concern for the pickup. As a result, GM will need to make some changes to the truck ranging from packaging, to federalization, to cosmetic adjustments before it will be ready for the U.S. market.

Evidence of this theory was offered up by Brad Merkel, a global vehicle line executive for GM, who said, "Chevrolet Colorado Chief Engineer Roberto Rempel and his team lived in Thailand during the Colorado's development," continuing with the most clear evidence, "A similar development process will precede the launch of the truck in the U.S. market. We think American customers will be pleased with the results."

Couple the design-change needs with the planned refresh set for 2015, and it makes sense that GM would simply make all of the changes and offer the truck in the U.S. at the same time as the refreshed, more current truck is ready for the rest of the world.

In addition to design changes and refresh schedules, there is also the issue of where the truck will be produced. Since the truck will be produced in Wentzville, Missouri, that means it will likely take at least several months to wholly re-do the assembly line to produce the Colorado pickup - and likely the Colorado pickup-based Trailblazer as well (but this is purely speculation for now).

What's in store for U.S.
Chevrolet isn't commenting about powertrains or other revisions for the North American market yet, but at the very least we expect to see all three body configurations - standard, extended and crew cabs - on offer here, as well as both two- and four-wheel-drive.

Under the hood, it's unlikely that Chevrolet will be able to profitably offer the 2.5- and 2.8-liter diesel engines it will sell in global Colorados in the U.S. Instead, we wouldn't be surprised to see the company's new 190-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder serve as motivation for lower-trim Colorados, while the 300-plus horsepower 3.6-liter V6 might make an ideal range-topping engine.

GM hasn't confirmed a GMC-badged variant. The current GMC Canyon, a re-badge of the Colorado, represents just 25 percent of the platform's sales in the U.S.

The automaker's decision to offer two body-on-frame pickups in North America stands in stark contrast to its domestic rivals Ford and Chrysler, which have conceded the segment to Toyota and Nissan. Ford dropped its compact Ranger and Chrysler's next-generation Dakota is expected to take on a more "lifestyle" oriented role akin to the Honda Ridgeline.