CHEVROLET COLORADO CONCEPTS POINT TO NEW HOLDENS

4cast NEWS AND VIEWS

General Motors unveiled a pair of Colorado ute and Colorado 7 wagonbased concept vehicles, with a heavy Holden involvement, at the Bangkok International Motor Show.

Wearing a number of Australian-designed accessories, the Chevrolet Colorado Xtreme and Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier concepts are basically thinly-veiled pointers to the facelifted production versions of the 2017 Holden Colorado and Colorado 7. Both are due to arrive in Australia from about August.

Holden’s GM Australia design team at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne helped style and prepare the facelifted bits of the show vehicles for Chevrolet, using the as-yet unreleased RG Colorado Series II. Expect to see the actual production versions in May.

Boasting a redesigned bonnet, grille and headlights for a sleeker and more contemporary nose cone, GM is counting on both the Xtreme and Trailblazer to attract “more premium” truck and SUV buyers.

To that end, their cabins are said to exude a higher quality and more refined ambience to better take-on the hotselling Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Everest. These include an upgraded eight-inch colour touchscreen, improved upholstery material, and – in the Trailblazer/Colorado 7 – wood door appliques with steel inserts and chrome detailing.

The larger (18-inch) wheels and all-terrain tyres, especially, are also an attempt to give the Colorado ute a wider and more planted stance. Don’t expect to see the Trailblazer concept’s 22-inch wheels on a Colorado 7 any time soon, though.

Meanwhile, some of the Australian Holden-designed accessories include the bullbar, which is a new and far more integrated unit than what is currently on offer, a ‘Safari’ bar, snorkel, sports bar with a styled in-fill panel, roof basket with LED light bar, sidesteps, rear-step tow bar, and wheel arch flares.

“Holden has long been involved in concept design and construction across all of GM’s brands – GMC, Chevrolet, Opel, Vauxhall, Buick and Cadillac,” GM Australia Design Director Richard Ferlazzo told 4X4 Australia.

“We want to expand the genuine accessories market that’s marketed and sold by Holden. We’ve been missing out in the past.”

The show vehicles themselves started life as production examples of the existing model (launched in 2012), pulled from the Thailand assembly line, before being flown to Melbourne for their glamorous makeover. The facelift is the work of GM’s Brazilian Chevrolet division.

Brazil remains the design, engineering and manufacturing “home room” for the one-tonne truck and its crossover wagon sister.

Holden builds “at least” one or two one-off concept vehicles annually for its overseas GM divisions, most famously of recent times the Opel GT (2016 Geneva Show) and Buick Avenir (2015 Detroit Show).

However, with the closure of manufacturing announced in December 2013, Holden no longer has the capability to fully engineer and validate a vehicle to production.