Story by Chris Doane for PickupTrucks.com
The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon small pickup trucks are expected to end production at their home in Shreveport, La., by June 2012, but that's not the end of the road for GM's midsize twins in North America, according to our sources.
We've learned that development on the next-generation 2014 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon for the U.S. and Canada is under way, based on GM’s all-new GMI 700 body-on-frame global small truck platform that will be built in Thailand starting late this year.
The GMI 700-based Chevy Colorado is expected to make its world debut at the 2011 Thailand International Motor Expo in Bangkok.
GM’s original plans during the company’s bankruptcy and financial restructuring in 2009 called for the end of the Colorado and Canyon, but those plans were reversed in the last few months.
The move runs contrary to the latest trends in the dwindling midsize segment, whose vehicles have grown stale and manufacturers have been exiting the segment. Later this year, U.S. production of the Ford Ranger will end after 29 years. The Ranger hasn't seen a major mechanical update since 2001 or a design change since 2006. Mazda, Isuzu and Mitsubishi also left the segment in the past few years.
Ford’s next-generation Ranger, code-name T6, will start production later this year for markets outside North America, leaving domestic Ford truck buyers with the F-150 as their only option.
GM’s new trucks will still face competition from Toyota and Nissan. A heavily refreshed Tacoma is expected to debut for 2013 with all-new sheetmetal and at least one new engine, though its platform will likely be mostly carry over. Nissan is also expected to sell a next-gen Frontier based on its latest global small truck chassis. A replacement for the Dodge Dakota may also be available by 2014, possibly riding on an innovative unibody platform.
The current Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon debuted in 2003 as 2004 models. They replaced the Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma compact pickups.
So how long do we have to wait for this new truck? At least two-and-a-half years. Our sources indicate that production couldn't start until at least the very end of 2013. The first half of 2014 is more likely. Production is likely to move north, to Wentzville, Mo., where GM currently builds its full-size Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans. With only one shift building vans at Wentzville, there’s untapped capacity for a new product.