Final Notes for the 2013 L.A. Auto Show

1 Army Frieghtliner II

Photography by Evan Sears,

In the wake of the press days at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, we've cleaned off our desk and found a few notes that we made during press events, media lunches and time spent in the media office. We're passing some of them along to you.

We don't a get a world debut of a pickup truck very often, but it was nice to see so many people excited about the fact that GM is rolling the dice and hoping to inject some energy into a segment — the midsize pickup truck — that's been stagnating for several decades. We want to stay optimistic about the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, but it wouldn't take much change in the economy, fuel prices or in the competition to suck a lot of potential wind from the Colorado's (or GMC Canyon's) sails. This midsize truck does not share its platform with any other vehicle and can only be made in one manufacturing facility. In fact, there is almost nothing shared with the global truck of the same name. That's got to be expensive. Still, getting it to the right buyers at the right price could jump-start the small truck market. There were (and probably still are) plenty of places where GM could have cut corners or pulled back from this decision, so we're impressed and thankful the company decided to dive in.

2 Colorado Lifeguard II

2a Colorado Cutaway II

This year Ford didn't have a single pickup inside the convention center for media days, but it did have a huge display area outside, complete with a radio-control dirt track with a host of RC Raptors and F-150s. The truck that caught our eye was one of the original 2011 F-150 test trucks for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine; it's owned by a California farmer and has more than 150,000 miles on it. We'll have a chance to drive this exact truck soon and will see just much punch is lost over time due to its brutal duty cycle.

Possibly our second favorite truck of the show (the Colorado was a pretty big deal) was the latest edition of the Via Motors VTrux. Via just opened a plant in Mexico near the GM Silverado/Sierra plant in Silao and is taking delivery of GM's new 2014 half-ton trucks to swap in Via's proprietary powertrains. Those powertrains offer up to 40 miles of electric-only driving, with another 300 or so from the energy generated from a new EcoTec3 4.3-liter V-6 engine; the engine's sole purpose is to charge the lithium-Ion battery pack underneath the truck.

3 VIA Pickup II


4 VIA Solar II

We love the idea of having your own onboard power generator for camping trips or emergency power generation for homes or offices right on the truck. The Via pickups are plug-in ready and still capable of towing 5,000 pounds. New this year, Via also is offering options like a mild suspension lift, unique wheels and tires, and a full-size solar panel built right into a tonneau bed cover. The cover comes in 400- or 800-watt configurations and can fully charge the batteries, we're told, in just three days. The cost of the cover is about $2,000. The cost of a fully equipped Via pickup is about $79,000. Fleets and commercial truck buyers are the obvious first adopters here, but there's no reason why, as this technology gets less expensive and people understand how the fuel savings work, more general consumers won't want one as well.

We always hit the aftermarket hall at the L.A. Auto Show, where we love to search for the playboys from Southern California builders. We saw some familiar big trucks like the Tonka T4 Super Duty, as well as some other wild and crazy trucks. Every year is a little bit different, but the show is always worth the trip. For more information on the current L.A. Auto Show, running through Dec. 1, click here.

5 Tonka Super Duty II

6 Tundra II

7 Silverado HD



I like the idea of that hybrid Silverado, Lord willing, as the batteries get cheaper (in price), more efficient (smaller, lighter) and safer, it can only get better from here.




Ask the 2011 F150 owner how much it was to replace the turbochargers. If he hasn't yet, take it to a smog station and test it. If Ford paid for the turbo(s), then get an estimate.

Put on your yarmulke
It's time for Chanukah
Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Chanukah
Happy Chanukah!

@Mark Williams
I will disagree with you about the sharing between the global and US variant of the Colorado.

The body under the skin is the same, even the pickup tub.

The suspension geometry will be the same. The chassis dimensions will be the same, maybe lighter.

I think the difference will lie in the weight of the vehicle. Will GM give us the weight of an equivalent sized US Colorado?

It appears the only major difference the interior has is the trim ie, dash, door trim etc.

Is this GM trying to distance itself from the global?

I would love to look at the global and US vehicles side by side.

There would be a high percentage of commonality between them. GM wouldn't have invested $2.5 billion in the Colorado when designed in Brazil without considering what was required in the US.

Especially the way GM is financially. Sorry I don't buy it.

It's not the same. Doesn't share any of the styling with the global. New frame: Silverado. Interior: Silverado. Powertrains different. It is significantly longer the global. As with the Silverado, the doors are inlaid and triple-sealed. Only the roof and a bag of frame bolts is the same. The pickup box is taller.

"And can fully charge the batteries, we're told, in just three days."

Yea, three days is almost nothing except fleet and commercial pickup drivers need to drive daily and have ready access to the pickup bed without monkeying around with a $2000 trickle charge cover.

Rear bumper with corner step also came from the Silverado.

A different bumper bar and grille are superficial changes.

The chassis isn't a Silverado chassis, it is hydroformed like a Silverado chassis.

I'm sorry. Look at these images.

Look at these two and tell me if they are different.

These two look more different even though they are the virtually the same.

I think it's marketing from GM, in other words spin.

The 2015 American Colorado was designed and engineered to the same standard as General Motors' fullsize trucks.

In fact, Jeff Luke, Executive Engineer of GM Trucks, stated that the US-spec Colorado's underpinnings are actually more closely related to the larger Silverado than to its global counterpart.

It's rugged, handsome and a lot more attractive than the international Colorado.
The Colorado's North American design is unique, with a confident stance and a sporty demeanor.

Taller bedsides, for example, are exclusive to North America and match the aggressive, raked belt line of the cab, creating a distinctive proportion that reinforces the truck's athleticism, while also offering greater security to items stored in the bed..

It also features the segment's first application of electric power steering, which enhances efficiency by eliminating the consumption of a feature conventionally driven by the engine.

The new Colorado was developed for the North American truck customer, with distinctive design, comfort and connectivity features, including segment firsts such as available forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

So there's no confusion--The #2015ChevyColorado has NOTHING in common with #GlobalColorado. Every piece, completely different. - Mark Williams.

NOTHIN in common. You can ask MARK WILLIAMS to confirm it.

We in the US got the next gen Colorado first!

The US Colorado frame is completely different for two reasons: the global Colorado made in Brazil was not up to snuff with our American crash test ratings or stout towing requirements (legit tow ratings - not the fake overblown ratings used by overseas Nigerian scammers.)

Front: unique front fascia and grille
Hood: the squared off hood is pure Silverado
Sides: doors based on Silverado
Wheel arches: Square on US version, round on global
bed: taller improving cargo capacity while giving the truck’s profile a little more shoulder above the beltline
tail lights: Smoothed, rectangular taillamps replace the scalloped lenses used overseas
bumper: based on Silverado with corner steps
frame: completely different
"But all of this pales to the change lurking beneath the surface: North American Colorados ride on a completely different frame from their global counterparts. According to Luke, the 2015 Colorado’s fully-boxed frame is essentially a scaled-down version of that employed by the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. Luke says the switcheroo was dictated in part to meet side impact standards, but it does also result in a fairly stout package. Full towing and payload details have yet to be released, but GM does say gas Colorado models should be able to tow up to 6700 pounds."

Powertrain: completely different choices. In our market, the 2015 Colorado’s base engine is a direct-injection 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine; Buyers seeking more power can step up to GM’s omnipresent direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6; GM is still working on the US spec varient diesel
Electronics: features the segment's first application of electric power steering, which enhances efficiency by eliminating the consumption of a feature conventionally driven by the engine. The new Colorado was developed for the North American truck customer, with distinctive design, comfort and connectivity features, including segment firsts such as available forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

What's left? Roof and a bag of frame bolts? Exactly as Mark Williams stated.

the rake of the windscreen is increased to reduce drag. The makeover continues within, as Colorados sold here wear an all-new instrument panel patterned after the Silverado, ditching the waterfall center console in favor of a large ovoid form punctuated with chunky buttons and large toggle switches

Big Al. I have been visiting this site for some time now. This is my first post on this site and I can honestly say that you are very annoying. Nobody cares for your opinion. So put a sock in it and go suck an egg you "bloody wanker!"

I don't know--I kinda have to go with Al on this one. It seems incredibly stupid and needlessly expensive to completely reengineer, design, test, create differing manufacturing capability, etc., for a midsizer when you already have a very similar product in another market. I get that markets/tastes/needs are different, but NOTHING is the same?!

Market analysis must have shown some real aversion or poor perception to global pickups or they are being coy and the global Colorado actually shares a lot in common with the Silverado.

If it really is true that NOTHING is the same, GM deserves to go bankrupt again and down the road, and like we call Ram's Fiats, we will be calling Silverados Hyundais or VWs... .

The only major part that is the same is the roof.

Everything else is completely different except for some bolts.

Times are changing folks. Auto's got most of the attention for years when it came to fuel efficiency. Now the trucks are next. Some will fail , some will succeed.
Exciting times in the industry. Innovation will prevail!

The doors are identical the windshield is identical the rake on the windshield is the same or the so called roof stamping would be different.

Based on a Silverado? The chassis is manufactured using the same techniques as a Silverado, it isn't a Silverado chassis.

Also, side impact to meet US standards? WTF? We have the same side impact standards as the US.

The pickup tubs are identical except for a re-skin.

All of the glass is identical. So it appears what's supporting all of this is identical.

Like I stated GM spin.

I'm starting to think half of what is being disseminated on this vehicle is rumours based on rumour and opinion.

The biggest difference will be the aluminium hood and chassis forming. The chassis has to be the same size are the suspension geometry.

Here's an interesting link. So is the US Colorado safer with side impact accidents? UNECE :) I wonder if the US is planning to change it model? Well I'll be darned.

Or is the side impact to meet UNECE regulations. GM spin?

Have further read. It may an Australian idea for the US to have the chassis it's getting. How odd.

You may be correct the US could be gaining the global Colorado first. But I still believe the commonality is huge between them.

The US appears to be adopting global standards!

"the pickup is identical"

Keep telling yourself that, BAFO.

Arguing on PUTC with BAFO is like running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

The US Colorado features triple-sealed doors inlaid in the body sides, like the 2014 Silverado, for improved aerodynamic performance and a quieter interior.

Since the only thing shared is a stamped roof panel, then there is no point in calling it a global design, as those stamped panels almost certainly require their own dies, which means the savings to GM in terms of plant hardware & per-unit costs is a big fat zero.

I'll grant you, they probably saved a fair bit during design and engineering by having an existing vehicle to modify, but everything after that? Bupkis. Everything is completely different down to the frame.

I am inclined to agree with Big Al. GMC is NOT going to spend an extra billion on a USA only Colorado that they HOPE will sell 125k a year. Looks like there is a group of people that will guzzle the coolaid as long as the dispenser is coloured red, white and blue.

I have never stated identical. So don't distort comments.

What a fool you are, really, I just stated I agree with what was stated. You then continue to state

"the pickup is identical"

Keep telling yourself that, BAFO.

COME ON JERKOFF, How many on this site admit fault? What a knob you are. You must be a Fiat/Ram guy.

I still believe the commonality is far greater than Chev is making it out to be. This isn't a new pickup as was stated it is based on the global Colorado, or did you miss reading this?

"Chevrolet Colorado. Launching at the Los Angeles auto show, the Colorado is of course closely related to the global truck that’s already on sale in the rest of the world."

I do believe there are changes to meet the new global side impact standards as this would make sense.

Maybe the US can export them. But first the Chicken Tax would have to go.

Here's the link numbnuts


He didn't have to pay a dime for the turbos they're still running strong. The EcoBoost F-150 is the highest in customer satisfaction. Better than the Toyota Tundra, Silverado, and Ram

The Holden Colorado falls short of the Ranger, but I think the 2015 Chevy Colorado is definitely up there, though I am partial to Ford's 3.2L 5 cyl engine.

I'll also add the tailgate is entirely different and is from the Silverado with the built in tailgate spoiler, different character lines, and the EZ lift and Lower from the 2014 Silverado.

Seats and interior door panels are not the same either:

What's the same? Styling: Nothing. Frame: Nothing. Interior: Nothing. Powertrain: Nothing. Roof line: Yes. Half dozen bolts: Yes.

Front fascia and grille completely different, hood completely different - Silverado, Sides - fenders squared off - Silverado.

Doors triple inlaid, taller bedsides, tailgate and rear bumper - Silverado, all different head and tail lights, wheels - not the global.

Interior all new - Silverado - seats, door interiors, center console, dash, infotainment system, everything.

Frame all new - Silverado.

Powertrain - 2 gas engines.

Beisdes all of that, it's "identical" alright.

I'm thinking you are incorrect.

Look at the body of the truck. It only has a reskin.

I would assume the chassis is identical, or near enough.

I would also like to find out where the components are sourced from.

The trucks are as similar as my BT50 is to the Ranger, or as similar as the Dmax to the Holden Colorado.

@Big Al from Oz,
There are similarities and differences in the Colorado's. The Chevrolet has a 1400lb payload and a 6,700lb towing(or what ever figure they stick on it, in reality a whole lot less). It is a "Lifestyle Vehicle" nothing more or less. The Holden Colorado has a 2,400lb payload for the Dual Cab alone. A few examples getting around I have seen are not far off that Maximum.

Just a question: What is the Freightliner supposed to be?

@Robert Ryan
I realise this, I think the difference is in the chassis. Since the US half ton pickups don't carry the weight we do maybe a lighter Silverado style chassis will suffice.

The chassis and suspension dimension and geometry can't be changed. I think it's a bit of a misnomer for Chev to state it's a completely different ute, it isn't by a long shot. Especially when you look at the cab and ute back.

Some on this site consider a panel shape to make a vehicle look different substantial.

But I do believe there will be changes to meet the new global side impact standards. These changes wouldn't be huge either. I think the Ranger/BT50/Amarok can already meet these, but they spent a billion dollars each more producing their utes than GM who tried to produce a ute on the 'cheap'.

Another change would be to cheapen the vehicle to reduce it's cost in comparison to the Silverado. But it apparently has a aluminium bonnet to reduce weight. This might be an issue with midsizers to meet CAFE, weight vs regulated FE vs footprint.

The lower load and tow weight can also be the softer springing that is found on US half ton pickups.

GM will not have made huge changes, they just don't have the cash.

But all in all it's basically the same vehicle, GM is putting a lot of spin into no great changes.

GM is blowing wind out of their butts.

An expedition vehicle ;)

How would anyone tell whether the suspension and chassis are the same by looking at photos of the body? I would assume that Mark would not have said that it was different unless he was told by a GM rep or by following a press release. It's not something you would just make up. So I am puzzled as to why anyone would dispute that information without any evidence to the contrary?

@Big Al from OZ said

"An expedition vehicle"

All I can say is Hmmmm?

@Robert Ryan
A bit of a joke.

I just went out a got a hamburger with the lot and was thinking.

The chassis is supposed to be more rigid, now from some of the reviews I've read on our Colorado it's on road performance isn't that good.

Also, the steering on ours is re-circulating ball. The Amarok Ranger and BT50 have rack and pinion and drive much better on road. I hope the US Colorado can fix this up.

Maybe GM designed a pickup in Brazil knowing it wasn't going to as competitive as the Ranger/BT50/Amarok and they planned to 'upgrade' the existing Colorado platform.

Remember the Hilux was the main competition.

"So I am puzzled as to why anyone would dispute that information without any evidence to the contrary?|"

@Alex - This is what BAF0 does. He lives in his mom's basement and spends day and night trolling up this and other sites. Apparently he never sleeps. He'll tell you he's a rocket scientist too. Complete nonsense. Best to ignore and skip over.

I am sure that there were a lot of things changed on the Colorado for USA consumption. I had read that any global vehicle sold in different markets can have a 25% difference in parts just to meet different safety requirements. I'm sure that the Brazilian engineers who designed this truck took those variables into consideration.

The truth lies somewhere in the grey areas between the black and the white on both sides of this debate.

For those going with GM's claim, we've all heard advertising claiming "all new". Sharing just 3 bolts with the global Colorado could be "advertising speak" for we sourced the nuts and bolts from China instead of Thailand.

Correct it retains a lot of the features of the Global Model, but softened up to give a much softer ride(less capability) to be a "Tacoma fighter" not competition for GM's own Silverado or GMC.

Hmm? Try again?

I do think GM has taken into consideration the truck like handling the Colorado has here in Australia and will fix it. Our next Colorado will have to have that fixed up so it can be more competitive.

But I do think the majority of the Us Colorado is the same to the point you could take the door off and bolt it on to ours. Just look at the photo links I have put in.

Even the pickup beds will be interchangable as the whole body.

Also, we have to remember regulation makes it harder for the creation of a competitive midsize market in the US. Just look at what they have on offer as midsizers right now, nothing that would be competitive here.

CAFE favours full size trucks. The reduction of the capability of the US Colorado is just common sense, why would GM build a midsizer that is as capable (or more versatile) as the Silverado?

VW said the only way to have midsizers in the US is not have a tariffs/regulations working against imported pickups or have a market for 100 000 pickups a year to manufacture in NA.

I still think GM took a gamble with all of the regulations working against this size pickup.

I hope it succeeds.

@Robert Ryan - Aussie trucks have huge capacity for a reason. The only difference is OEMs selling in Australia are 100% free to rate trucks with any capacity they wish. We have something called lawyers. And the US DOT. And sanity.

They're still small trucks, regardless of continent, with small components including tiny brakes and other hardware like bearings, ball joints, U-joints, tie rods, bushings etc.

Aussies ask more from small pickups because they have no other pickup upgrade. OEMs selling in OZ just tell consumers what they want to hear and were going to do anyways.

In the US, it's stupid to overload a small truck when you have better choices that won't break, melt down or cause a crash.

You have to remember, adding a X brace or another cross member is a "new" frame. It might be the exact same frame "design" but with an extra cross member. GM would not spend tons of R&D money to build a new frame for "new" wheel bases. Considering GM puts up less profits than it's competitors (Ford and Toyota overall) I HIGHLY doubt this is a built from scratch frame. It is probably a tweaked from from the global Colorado.

Hell GM considers a strutted tailgate something brand new, when it has been around on the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.
Or those corner steps on the new bumpers, they were on the Avalanche before the Silverado.

@John - that is true. "All new" is the most abused and misused phrase in the auto industry.

@Lou and John
I agree, manufacturers here do abuse 'new' as well.

This is a NA version of the global Colorado. Just like our Colorado is slightly different from the Thai Colorado.

GM has to step gingerly so it doesn't outperform the Silverado, which this vehicle could do.

Imagine having a pickup that carries the same weight as a bottom end HD and can tow roughly the same as a 1/2 ton, getting the FE of a 4 cylinder car. Sounds attractive.

What would be funny is if Colorado sells extremely well.

@big al,

The suggestion that Detroit can't build a truck that "does it all" is erroneous. In fact they can, it just costs too much to be competitive for average truck owners.

Turbo diesel technology, durable running gear and improvements in FE are all possible results of bigger investment but it has its costs.

Buyers in the mid size market are too focused on entry level pricing to make your paradigm truck a reality in the US.

@BAF0 - To get the mpg of a 4 cylinder car, you're talking a base-stripper midsizer with diesel power, but that forfeits towing capacity. Never mind the huge expenses incurred by owning a diesel. Now when move up to a 4 door, double cab midsizer, you lose mpg and load capacity. You can't have it both ways and have to compromise somewhere.

Now if we had the crazy/insane mid-size load/towing capacity you enjoy in OZ, why would we stop there? Our 1/2 tons and 3/4 ton would each get a big increase in capacity and would be knocking on the door of medium dutys. Then medium dutys (MDTs) would get a huge increase in capacity and would be stepping on the toes of HDTs. Then HDTs would get a big...

See where this is going? Your ideals don't necessarily jive with reality. Or sanity.

@papa jim
Thanks. You are luckier than us in Australia you can have all.

The comment you just made is the reason for the chicken tax and the other barriers. We do receive them.

The global pickups we get do have those features.

My argument would be why do they have to be built in the US?

I do know it is preferable, but why?

Some want the US to be a manufacturing nation, like of old.

But to be that you will have to live like your competitors. Protecting and subsidising as I've pointed out can only last in the short to medium term. You just don't have the cash.

Maybe the US can print money to devalue it's currency. That would be the most politically savy method :)

This would lower the standard of living gradually and make you guys competitive.

The US used to be the worlds largest exporter of high tech products. This banner has now gone to the Germans and their cost structures are similar.

I think organisations like the UAW and other labour movements and large industry should look beyond themselves and look at the country.

@DenverlllMike - we already seeing car companies jack up tow/haul ratings to stupid levels without the influence of "global" tow/haul ratings.

Are they afraid of that massive influx of imports once the chicken tax expires?

or is magic spring dust the normal course of business in the USA?

Any more lame and weak arguments that you care to cast out into the internet?

Denver Mike is exactly right. BAFO is like the old communists who put party first (Small Truck Alliance). This doesn't mean he is a communist. That is not the point. Facts and common sense don't matter. It is "party"(small truck party) first like the communists. No facts. He just tries to bamboozle you to support the "party." BAFO = communist.

Every here is no good. Everything elsewhere, global and small is great. Push party, party, party. Don't use facts. Bamboozle people. This is a lockstep global Communist position that BAFO has and is a disaster.

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