GM to keep Colorado, Canyon names for new trucks

Updated at: 08/08/2013 9:05 AM
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(AP) TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - General Motors will keep the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon names when it rolls out redesigned midsize pickup trucks next year.

The new trucks will be markedly different from the current models, with the Colorado targeted toward people who spend time outdoors and the Canyon aimed at professional buyers, Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said Thursday at an auto industry conference.

Ammann said the old truck names have brand equity with customers.

For the first six months of the year, small and midsize pickup sales have fallen 19 percent to just under 135,000, according to Autodata Corp. That’s largely because GM stopped producing the old versions of the midsize pickups and Ford Motor Co. discontinued the Ranger small pickup. Instead, the foucs has been on full-size pickups, which are flying off dealer lots thanks to strength in the energy and housing markets.

GM believes the updated models can revive the market for smaller trucks, Ammann told reporters at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars near Traverse City, Mich..

"Below today’s full-size truck we see a segment of the market that’s not being addressed," he said. "Not being addressed with the quality of vehicle, the capability of vehicle that we see there being a real market opportunity for. Not everybody needs a full-size truck."

GM plans to start producing the new versions of the Canyon and Colorado at a plant in Wentzville, Mo., sometime in 2014. Ammann wouldn’t say when GM expects the new models to reach dealerships.

The trucks will share components with midsize pickups already on sale in Brazil and other countries, Ammann said. But they will be distinctly different and tailored to U.S. buyers, he said.

Ford has said it doesn’t plans to bring back the Ranger to the American market.

GM North American Vice President Mark Reuss said earlier in the year that the new trucks will be slightly larger than a Toyota Tacoma with engines and transmissions that get better mileage than GM’s full-size trucks. A six-cylinder, two-wheel drive version of Chevy’s full-size Silverado gets 24 mpg on the highway and 18 in the city.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)