Will Chevrolet's tiny Trax spark a sibling rivalry?
SAN DIEGO -- Given that GMC's entire product lineup is shared with Chevrolet, it begs the question: Will GMC get a version of the new Chevy Trax small crossover? "I think that is certainly possible," Trax chief engineer Al Manzor said when asked about the possibility during a media drive here. Manzor said that the 2015 Trax has received "a lot of great feedback" from automotive writers who have driven it, generating questions about "opportunities with other brands." The Trax will begin arriving at U.S. dealerships this month, the 67th country of sale since the vehicle was launched in Mexico in late 2012. Rebadged versions are sold as the Buick Encore, which went on sale in the U.S. in early 2013, and the Opel Mokka in Europe. Chevy executives say the Trax adds a versatile option to the small end of the brand's lineup.
But a GMC version could create showroom conflict with the Encore, says AutoPacific Inc. analyst Dave Sullivan. Most of General Motors' roughly 1,750 GMC dealerships also sell Buick. Unlike the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, large crossovers that share underpinnings but with decidedly distinct sheet metal, the Trax would be tougher to differentiate as a GMC, Sullivan says. "Sibling brands should complement each other, not fight for sales," Sullivan says. IHS Automotive forecasts U.S. Trax sales of about 50,000 next year. AutoPacific's estimate is 44,800.
2015 Chevrolet Trax
Chevrolet will be among the first of many brands to bet that Americans are ready for a Euro-sized crossover when the first ones hit showrooms this month. The Trax will join a revitalized small-vehicle lineup that includes the Cruze compact, Sonic subcompact and Spark minicar. They are "the gateway drugs" to the brand, says Steve Majoros, Chevy's marketing director for cars and crossovers. "They bring new people into the franchise."
— Powertrain: Turbocharged 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic transmission
— Technology: 7-inch MyLink infotainment system and 4G LTE connection standard
— Safety: 10 airbags and standard rear-vision camera
— Target: 50,000 sales a year
— Competitors: Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3
— Strengths: Rugged styling; $1,500 awd option even on base model
— Weaknesses: Less cargo space than some rivals
— Bottom line: A recent media test drive through the streets of San Diego showed why automakers are scrambling to get small crossovers to the market: The Trax is a versatile, maneuverable ride that offers an SUV-like view of the road for just less than $21,000. It's also roomier than it looks: A fold-flat front passenger seat allows space for an 8-foot surfboard. Chevy will enjoy a short early-mover advantage before rivals inundate the market in the first half of 2015.
Â 2015 Chevy trax2016 honda Hr-vWheelbase100.6 in.102.8 in.Length168.5 in.169.1 in.Width69.9 in.69.8 in.Height65.9 in.63.2 in.Curb weight3,048 lbs.N/ABase engineTurbo 1.4-liter 4-cylinder1.8-liter 4-cylinderHorsepower138 @ 4,900 rpm138 @ 6,500 rpmTorque, lbs.-ft.148 @ 1,850 rpm127 @ 4,300 rpmEPA mpg26 city/34 hwy.N/ABase price$20,995*N/A*Includes shipping
You can reach Mike Colias at [email protected]
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