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Chevrolet Crossover likely to be dubbed Traverse

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Finally, a Chevy crossover
GM rushes to fill the void in the brand's lineup
Sharon Terlep | Link to Original Article @ The Detroit News

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Artist Conception by MJDecker


DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. is winning over critics and customers with its trio of new large crossover vehicles for its GMC, Saturn and Buick brands.

But when the automaker started developing a crossover strategy several years ago, it left out its top-selling Chevrolet brand, which had the well-established TrailBlazer SUV. But as the market shifted dramatically away from traditional SUVs, TrailBlazer sales cratered and Chevy was left without a crossover, which has become one of the hottest vehicle segments.

It's a decision GM is hustling to correct. The automaker is in the late stages of developing a new Chevy crossover -- likely to be named the Traverse -- off the same basic architecture as the well-regarded new Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and upcoming Buick Enclave, according to people familiar with the plan. The Chevy crossover, which combines SUV features with a car-like ride and fuel efficiency, is slated for production next year.

"It seems like they're realizing, 'We have a home run here, we'd better get these to our volume dealers,' " said dealer Steve Cook, who sells Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles at his Vassar dealership. "With Chevy being my main line, it would help to have one."

GM's course correction comes as the company is overhauling its product development system to allow it to react more swiftly to shifting consumer tastes and bring vehicles to market faster.

TrailBlazer sales fall off

The idea for a Chevy crossover was considered several years ago but discarded because GM was reaping big profits from the hot-selling TrailBlazer. But volatile gas prices and SUV fatigue sent customers away from midsize SUVs in droves. GM plans to stop selling the TrailBlazer by 2010.

GM spokesman Chris Preuss declined to discuss product plans but said Chevrolet has a gap in its lineup.

"With the decline in the midsize of the utility segment, we haven't had anything to fill the void," Preuss said. "The (crossover) package was so well done, they've appealed to customers."

Seizing an opportunity to reach former SUV buyers, nearly every automaker has come out with a crossover in recent years.

The Acadia, Outlook and Enclave, all built in Lansing, have been among the more well received. Ford Motor Co. has won praise and seen solid sales for its new Edge crossover.

Monthly sales for the Outlook and Acadia have doubled since January. The vehicles accounted for almost 4 percent of GM's overall sales in April, compared to 1 percent in January. The Enclave is just now reaching showrooms.

Chevrolet sales, meanwhile, have fallen 6 percent. A crossover might not have negated the decline, but the fact the TrailBlazer accounts for nearly a third of Chevy's sales indicated a crossover offering might have helped keep some buyers.

Tenn. will build vehicle

It wasn't until about two years ago, shortly before the public was getting its first look at GM's crossover concepts, that a Chevy version began to become a reality again. GM realized then that the TrailBlazer didn't have a future.

Since designers had experimented with a Chevy design for the segment, GM was able to make quick progress. Last month, the automaker cut a deal with UAW workers at its plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., to have the vehicle built there.

While acknowledging that Chevrolet would have benefited from having a crossover sooner, especially as fuel prices rattle car buyers, the situation isn't dire, said Troy Clarke, GM's president of North America. Demand for the crossovers is robust and GM is coming out with a slew of new vehicles in the next couple of years.

Also important to consider is that crossovers remain a relatively small piece of the auto business, said Jesse Toprak, chief economist for Edmunds.com. The segment accounts for about 11 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S.

Cook, the GM dealer, is driving an Enclave, and constantly fields questions from fawning friends and neighbors. But the Enclave is a bit pricey, starting at about $33,000, and Cook thinks a cheaper Chevrolet version could draw more business.

"I think a lot of dealers felt cheated," he said.
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blah blah. Old GM tricks...listen to the dealers not the consumer. Dealers are clamoring, execs see dollar signs, let's rush out another half baked product that is insulting to out consumers' intelligence. This reeks of business without passion, which is not the kind of product decision that should be made. I will only advocate the Lambda Chevrolet if its design is worthy and it offers something different, like the Outlook, Acadia, and Enclave successfully but too lightly do. A proper Chevrolet version will not have to be described as differentiated--it would be totally different.

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Awesome, but I wonder when we will see the first pics of it.

Just squink when looking at an Outlook...sorry, that was low.

Despite the inevitable similarities to the Outlook and Acadia, I think this vehicle will kick some major arse. The Lambdas are already well received and they will have a couple of years to work out the kinks plus add some MCE enhancements. Look out Pilot.

On the other hand, Traverse...really? What is with naming in the auto industry? What about that name speaks to what the Chevy brand is about? What about that name speaks to what the vehicle is about? Could do so much better.

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Why not bring it in as the replacement for the TrailBlazer and name it as such? (In response to Windy)

If they can get it to cost less than the Outlook, it'll appeal to a lot more people. Then, the Lambda platform will be less of a showpiece and more of a commodity. That might not be so good for the company, but it'll be great for the consumer.

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Ideally, the Chevy Lambda (Traverse) should be a five passenger version, have the body styled as such and not just a regular Lambda minus the back seat, and compete against the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, and the upcoming Dodge crossover. This would make it truly unique in the GM crossover lineup and would not compete directly with the Acadia/OUTLOOK/Enclave market (since they are 7/8 passenger models).

But we all know that won't happen, and the Chevy Traverse will still be a 7/8 seater and will only cannibalize sales from the other three. That is until the OUTLOOK sales fall below expectations and GM decides Saturn doesn't need the vehicle anymore because more people buy the Chevy version vs. the Saturn. Or the GMC Acadia - you make the pick. :rolleyes:

I can't see GM selling four versions all the same. The Chevy has to be different from the rest, otherwise GM is just taking two steps BACKWARDS again.

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After shopping this weekend at Buick and GMC dealers, my wife and I settled on the Acadia. I wondered outloud if there would be a Chevy version. Now after seeing that sketch, I don't think I'll wait for the Chevy. That does not look good at all. F-U-G-L-Y

The Enclave was nice, but too nice for us with a 3 year old and the Acadia has really grown on me especially since seeing that Blue-Gold exterior color up close and in some sunlight.

Just my two cents, but I agree that Chevy should shorten it to compete with the likes of the Edge.

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Ideally, the Chevy Lambda (Traverse) should be a five passenger version, have the body styled as such and not just a regular Lambda minus the back seat, and compete against the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, and the upcoming Dodge crossover. This would make it truly unique in the GM crossover lineup and would not compete directly with the Acadia/OUTLOOK/Enclave market (since they are 7/8 passenger models).

I agree that maybe the Traverse should be a 5/6 passenger vehicle, but the upcoming dodge crossover is really more Equinox territory. And since the next Equinox isn't going to shrink, then the Traverse shouldn't get any smaller., either.

I don't think GM will let us down, they'll make it look different. Also, I don't see this stealing GMC or Saturn sales. Really, what saturn customers are also shopping a Chevrolet dealership? Not many.

I think people scream brand competition with these CUV's way louder than they need to be. GM can make as many as needed. They need to own this new market like they own trucks and large SUV's.

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Ideally, the Chevy Lambda (Traverse) should be a five passenger version, have the body styled as such and not just a regular Lambda minus the back seat, and compete against the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, and the upcoming Dodge crossover. This would make it truly unique in the GM crossover lineup and would not compete directly with the Acadia/OUTLOOK/Enclave market (since they are 7/8 passenger models).

But we all know that won't happen, and the Chevy Traverse will still be a 7/8 seater and will only cannibalize sales from the other three. That is until the OUTLOOK sales fall below expectations and GM decides Saturn doesn't need the vehicle anymore because more people buy the Chevy version vs. the Saturn. Or the GMC Acadia - you make the pick. :rolleyes:

I can't see GM selling four versions all the same. The Chevy has to be different from the rest, otherwise GM is just taking two steps BACKWARDS again.

I think that Traverse name is fine. but I like TrailBlazer better. I agree that this needs to be considerably different in order to not cannibalize sales of the other three. If's it's just an Outlook with a different nose and tail lights...GM is doing the same thing it did with the TrailBlazer clones...which didn't exactly win over critics.

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I like the Traverse name...they need a name different from TrailBlazer to distinguish it from the old-style BOF SUV. A 7 passenger spec makes sense, as they already have the 5 passenger crossover market covered with the Equinox...

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How many of these do we need? How much lower can they position it? I mean, it'll be sub-Outlook, but will they sacrifice quality of materials to keep the price lower? I don't know.. again I see too much overlap.

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After shopping this weekend at Buick and GMC dealers, my wife and I settled on the Acadia. I wondered outloud if there would be a Chevy version. Now after seeing that sketch, I don't think I'll wait for the Chevy. That does not look good at all. F-U-G-L-Y

That's just a rendition done by our own MJDecker. It's a Lambda crossover with the Cheyenne concept's front end. Seeing as how the Cheyenne wasn't well received at this forum, the Chevy Lambda probably won't look like that.

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I still hold out hopes for a five-seater GMT-355 successor-based Trailblazer.

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blah blah. Old GM tricks...listen to the dealers not the consumer. Dealers are clamoring, execs see dollar signs, let's rush out another half baked product that is insulting to out consumers' intelligence. This reeks of business without passion, which is not the kind of product decision that should be made. I will only advocate the Lambda Chevrolet if its design is worthy and it offers something different, like the Outlook, Acadia, and Enclave successfully but too lightly do. A proper Chevrolet version will not have to be described as differentiated--it would be totally different.

Funny, blah blah is what I think when you post anything! Do you ever have anything good to say about GM and it's products? :rolleyes:

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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Funny, blah blah is what I think when you post anything! Do you ever have anything good to say about GM and it's products? :rolleyes:

Well, he does. But when GM actually earns it.

In this case... unless the Chevy Lambda is significantly different than its platform-mates, GM doesn't deserve any real praise.

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Why does anyone want it to be 5-passenger? The Equinox takes care of that. In addition, if the Chevy is priced at $25k, how is this going to cannibalize a whole lot of sales? If the base Chevy is $5k cheaper than the Saturn counterpart, it's going to attract different buyers simply on price. GM wants to do a very, very high number of Chevy Lambdas. The number about 4/5s of that of how many Malibus they want to sell; therefore, I say it's not starting at $30k, but more like $24k.

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Good I am glad they are doing it. A 5 seater would eat into the Equniox and its strong sales. As long as it looks different inside and out I say go for it.

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Well, he does. But when GM actually earns it.

In this case... unless the Chevy Lambda is significantly different than its platform-mates, GM doesn't deserve any real praise.

Sure it does, It's going to give buyers of the Lambda a less costly version to pick from. The more choice you give the customer on price is always a good thing. Giving Chevy a version will get the Lambda in more customer's hands and do it faster than Saturn will be able to do with it's limited dealer network. Just in sheer numbers of dealers alone Chevy should outsell Saturn and maybe even GMC altogether.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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>>"...let's rush out another half baked product that is insulting to out consumers' intelligence. This reeks of business without passion, which is not the kind of product decision that should be made."<<

Except the Lambdas are far from "half baked product", so the 'reeking' may only be coming from your own compost-heap of perceptions.

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I like the name Trailblazer too but it is not appropriate for this type of vehicle - SoccerParkingLotBlazer would be closer to the truth, and sadly better than Traverse too.

Edited by bcjohnso99
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Well, he does. But when GM actually earns it.

In this case... unless the Chevy Lambda is significantly different than its platform-mates, GM doesn't deserve any real praise.

thank you. for a moment there I felt bad.
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>>"...let's rush out another half baked product that is insulting to out consumers' intelligence. This reeks of business without passion, which is not the kind of product decision that should be made."<<

Except the Lambdas are far from "half baked product", so the 'reeking' may only be coming from your own compost-heap of perceptions.

as evidenced by the tone of other posters in just this thread, a half backed product is exactly what a Lambda rebadge would be that my post was referring to. Already the Lambdas are sharing too many parts bin materials and other things like the rear ends on the Acadia/Outlook, and I made an allusion to that in my post. Or maybe reading comprehension isn't your forte.
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I humbly submit that we should wait for the crime to occur before we condemn and execute the accused. We haven't even seen a spyshot of this thing yet.
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I'm not going to start jumping all over GM for this yet. We don't know if it'll be a disappointment or a class leader like the other Lambdas.

What I will say is this: Traverse? Come on. There must've been better names you could've gotten ahold of.

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I still hold out hopes for a five-seater GMT-355 successor-based Trailblazer.

:withstupid: I think GM needs to fill the Envoy/TrailBlazer BOF void with something based on the Canyon/Colorado platform. Not everyone out there wants a car-based, front-wheel drive SUV. While I thought the old Jimmy/Blazer were small compared to their competition (Explorer, Grand Cherokee, 4Runner), I realize the Envoy/TrailBlazer really do step foot on the Yukon/Tahoe market. I really like the Hummer H3 and think it's a perfect size. You can offer the Equinox/Torrent (future GMC anyway) for those seeking a smaller FWD/AWD crossover, a GMT-355 BOF SUV for those wanting a smaller, 2wd or 4WD SUV, the Lambdas for those wanting a larger, FWD or AWD car-based crossover, and the Yukon/Tahoe for the full-size, 2wd or 4wd truck-based SUV. Much like Toyota's lineup - a SUV for every taste.

Why does anyone want it to be 5-passenger? The Equinox takes care of that. In addition, if the Chevy is priced at $25k, how is this going to cannibalize a whole lot of sales? If the base Chevy is $5k cheaper than the Saturn counterpart, it's going to attract different buyers simply on price. GM wants to do a very, very high number of Chevy Lambdas. The number about 4/5s of that of how many Malibus they want to sell; therefore, I say it's not starting at $30k, but more like $24k.

Okay, but the problem here is that Chevy will not keep their Lambda a bottom of the barrel, value-based crossover only. There will be LS, LT, and LTZ versions, maybe starting at $25k but going all the way up to $42k - just like the other three Lambdas. If you equip/option the Acadia/OUTLOOK/Enclave the same way, they're all pretty close in price. And thus you have one stealing from the other three. Do you really think someone won't price shop each GM division, rather than Chevy vs. Ford vs. Toyota? And the dealers will stock some base (LS) models, but a majority of them will be fully loaded LT3 or LTZ models. Don't believe me? Go to any Chevy dealer and look at their Avalanche, Tahoe, and Suburban stock and see how many "base" models are available. Chevy dealers are no different - they make more off the fully optioned models. Yeah there'll be the few $25k "newspaper ad specials", but there will be more loaded ones. And that will steal from the other GM divisions until GM cuts the back (remember the Uplander, Montana SV6, Relay & Terazza minivans???).
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