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GM Plots Revenge of the Midsize Truck

As the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota ride off into the sunset, a new hero for fans of American midsize pickup trucks is coming to town.

In 2013, Chevrolet will begin selling an all-new version of the Colorado, which is being introduced overseas this year. And while it shares its modern styling cues with the company’s popular Equinox crossover, it’s a real deal body-on-frame truck.

The Colorados sold here will also be built in the United States, but it first enters production in Thailand, which is the world’s biggest market for midsize pickup trucks. Ford recently introduced a new Ranger there, as well, but will not be selling it in the U.S. The automaker says that its F-150 isn’t that much bigger and gets nearly as good fuel economy. For small businesses that are looking for a hauler that’s easier to park, it suggests that they try its Transit Connect compact van.

Details on the American version of the Colorado are yet to come, but in Thailand it is powered by a choice of 4-cylinder diesel engines that are likely to be replaced by gasoline powerplants here. The Colorado will join the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma as the only midsize pickup trucks (aside from the unibody Honda Ridgeline) available in the United States.

But that’s not all GM has is the works.

At Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary celebration in Detroit, GM announced plans to resurrect the Trailblazer name on an all-new midsize SUV. The company ended production of the original Trailblazer in 2009 and replaced it with the Chevrolet Traverse crossover.

Built on the same platform as the Colorado, the new Trailblazer will be unveiled at the Dubai International Motor Show in November and enter production in Thailand next year. So far, only a teaser photo of a mostly obscured vehicle has been shown to the public. While the company says it will offer the comfort and efficiency of a crossover, its truck platform should make it more rugged than many of the crossovers currently on sale in the class.

But when does it go on sale here?

At the moment GM says it has no plans to reintroduce the Trailblazer in the United States, and with sales of the Equinox and Traverse through the roof it’s easy to understand why. However, when news of the new Colorado originally surfaced in 2010, GM was coy about whether or not it would sell it in the U.S., waiting over a year to show its hand. With only Nissan, Toyota and Jeep playing in the body-on-frame midsize SUV market today there might just be a big enough hole in the segment for the Trailblazer to fill.

Or drive over.

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