After the Ford Bronco reveal, is GM on fire with envy?


Putting aside your author’s own predilection for traditional sedans (a problem shared by many TTAC residents, but fewer and fewer buyers), one can understand why General Motors kept their Chevrolet Sonics, Cruze, Volt. and Impala, and why Buick is on its way to becoming a utility-only brand in 2021.

Less understandable, especially after last week, which is why a new model has arrived in its current form. And it seems some people at GM are wondering that too.

From the start of the conquest of the Ford Bronco 2021, the collective dumping on what could have been its rival: the Chevrolet Blazer also began. It’s not the Bronco’s rival, of course. The Jeep Wrangler is.

The Blazer, arriving for the 2019 model year, walks to the beat of a different drum. Ignoring its heritage, unlike the Bronco and Wrangler, the Blazer has come back to life as a crossover built on a front-wheel drive passenger car platform. Closing the large CUV gap between the Equinox and the considerable Traverse made sense (Ford has the edge, after all), but using the Blazer name for this entry rubbed many purists and history buffs the wrong way. . Many felt that unless the model in question was a body-on-frame SUV with true off-road chops, resurrecting the Blazer name was inappropriate.

We noticed it then, and the blame continues to this day. It continues in the pages of Detroit News, as well.

While it’s understandable that a company with no intention of offering a rival in the all-terrain SUV space chooses to squeeze some mileage out of its history by dusting off a familiar nameplate for a new one. CUV, this also locks a business into its current one. direction. Better not to change the product plans, as this name is now out of service.

Columnist and associate business editor Daniel Howes made the usual complaint for what could have been re: Blazer, but the surprising conclusion of his article is that apparently GM’s leadership might feel the same. This is the claim.

Describing the overwhelming enthusiasm for Bronco and GM’s history-laden decision not to participate in this battle, Howes writes:

It’s not a winning strategy, if only in the never-ending public relations battle. The mountain of pre-orders for the Michigan-made compact Broncos that are flooding Ford Motor Co. is a stark reminder that GM’s Blazer is reborn as just another midsize sporty crossover, which it wasn’t originally. , promises to be a great missed opportunity. No less than CEO Mary Barra, I’m told, laconically reminded senior product planners at a meeting last week’s Bronco Brouhaha.

We can’t confirm whether this interior line is a juicy nugget of pure truth, but GM, like any major automaker, doesn’t want to be left behind its bigger competitors if it can help it.

The problem is, the Bronco belongs to a segment that has suddenly gone hot, despite the Wrangler’s past success. Starting to develop its own off-road SUV now would mean a terribly late entry to the market for GM, as well as a product that cannot fit the model name it should be able to claim. The heat could easily have gone out by then too. And furthermore, GM’s future isn’t something that’s just scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin (no matter what some readers might think of the company’s electric ambitions). There is a structured plan underway, just like there is a cost reduction strategy. There is also a pandemic and a concomitant recession underway. Money is not plentiful at the moment.

GM could choose to use the framework that underlies the next-gen Chevy Colorado, but there’s no word on a green light for such a product, or even any corporate thoughts related to the hypothetical beast.

Still, it’s interesting to hear that the person who has run GM since 2014 reacted in such a way (or not at all) after the Bronco’s debut.

[Image: Ford, General Motors]


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