“We have been adjusting our strategy as our competitors have been adjusting their strategies too,” noted Mr Colossi. “We are focussing on some specific models and we are focussing on specific trims which are the ones the customers are looking for.”
To that end, the brand's main highlight at the show was the introduction of a revised version of its Captiva crossover, for the 2014 Model Year, that adds dual zone climate control, keyless entry and engine start and multi-function steering wheel. But it’s going to be tough going this year with the market downturn showing no sign of ending. “The challenge will be to continue what have been doing and grow and build upon it,” reckoned Mr Purty.
GM certainly has a full range of vehicles in its portfolio after rolling out new models at a hectic pace over the last two or three years that now give it a joined-up range to match the market-leading and well-established Japanese brands. From the B-segment Sonic, in hatchback and sedan format, through to the Trailblazer full size SUV and its popular Colorado 1-ton pickup, the dots have been joined up.
The latter model also got a boost at the show with the launch of a ‘Sport Edition’ on the extended and double-cab Colorado versions. Sport trims are option packs that always add decent margins to a vehicle and something that has been so far missing from this utilitarian vehicles range.
The Colorado is a popular choice with the big army of tuners here, thanks to an engine block that can take serious horsepower without breaking. That means the American pickup is a favoured choice amongst the leading drag racers and plenty of Colorados can be seen burning rubber north of the city at ‘Klong 5’ on a Saturday night. The front end styling of the new Colorado is quite imposing and the slab sides rakish, which has also lent itself to gaining favour with the bodykit brigade. It’s a pickup that responds well to enhancement.
The new Colorado Sport Edition comes on the 2WD 2.5-litre versions and includes daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, side steps, front nudge bar, roll hoop and decals on the outside while inside it is spec’d up with an infotainment system that has a large LED screen. Expect the 'Sport Edition’ presented at the Motor Show, which is limited to just 500 units, to sell out very quickly but then also expect this option to be integrated into the range.
Now a Sport trim pack is sorely needed on the Trailblazer. This option was killed off pre-launch to save costs but it would give the chunky SUV a competitor for Toyota's ‘TRD Sportivo’ version of its segment leading Fortuner.
Finally, Eco Car can be seen as a step that will also help GM in its desire to grow Thailand’s operations further as an export base was the word from senior management. “One of our goals is to continue to be an export hub here,” said Mr Purty. “We have two great facilities [so] now we can improve and grow our capacity, not over-producing over demand but focussing on the two facilities we have to ideally become more of an export market than we are today.” He added that, “[Thailand is a] core ASEAN region for Chevrolet.”