For 2022 General Motors Mexico is coming out with a better crossover than the Blazer or Trailblazer. It is the Chevy Captiva. Why it won’t be available in the US is a mystery. And why GM makes similar yet different vehicles for various markets around the world seems wasteful. Is it really cheaper to develop different models for certain regions? Isn’t it cheaper to do a “one size fits all” approach? Let’s take a look.
The Captiva is actually not that new. It is a rebadged Baojun 530 made by a consortium of SIAC, GM, and Wuling. This is how GM needed to approach manufacturing vehicles in China. So the Baojun made its first appearance in 2018. It was also the MG Hector, Wuling Almaz, and the Chevy Captiva. Everyone gets its piece.
Sizewise, the Captiva fits between both the Trailblazer and Blazer
Sizewise, it fits between both the Trailblazer and Blazer. Could this be splitting hairs? The styling isn’t groundbreaking, but we like the headlight slits and lack of a gigantic grille opening. In the rear things get fuzzy which makes it hard to tell it from most other crossovers.
One of the most important features of the Captiva is that it has a third-row seat which faces backward. Neither the Trailblazer nor the Blazer has a third-row seat. Well, at least not in the US. The Blazer comes with a third-row seat available in China. Again, another one of those things GM makes for other regions that we can’t have here.
So the Trailblazer has had a slow start in the US. It is way below the leader in this segment, the Jeep Compass. Compass sales were almost 80,000 for the year through Q3 while the Trailblazer is at 17,000. Not exactly a stellar start for its first year.
Blazer, Trailblazer, Trax, Equinox…
The Blazer is doing better its first year in 2019 scoring almost 60,000 units sold. We’ll ignore the continued talk of squandering the Blazer name for a generic crossover in light of how the Ford Bronco appears to have done. And let’s not forget the Chevy Trax which sold more than 115,000 last year. It was discontinued this year.
Finally, there is the Chevy Equinox. It does everything OK but not excelling in any one category. Why does Chevy make this gang of crossovers yet there is not much buzz? It is not an easy answer. GM sometimes has a habit of overwhelming markets with a confusing array as in this segment. The more vehicles you make the more you have to market their differences. Comparing one model against the next means GM is eating itself from within. In one respect it is spending money to drive you from one to another within their umbrella.
We know that offering different features, sizes, and functions give more variety and a better chance to capture a buyer. It’s just that the confusing scattershot of models get lost in all of the noise. Maybe paring things down a bit will give GM a better foundation to more robustly market the best that it has instead of offering mediocre models for every budget, taste, and need?