Chevrolet goes after Jeep Grand Cherokee with new Blazer

The new Blazer sits relatively low to the ground and has futuristic creases on the sides and a low-angle windshield to give it a sporty look. (Courtesy of General Motors via AP)
Updated 22 June 2018
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Chevrolet goes after Jeep Grand Cherokee with new Blazer

  • GM on Thursday unveiled the sculpted Blazer in Atlanta
  • At its peak in 1996, Chevrolet sold just over 246,000 Blazers

DETROIT: Because these days you can’t have too many SUVs, General Motors is bringing back the Chevrolet Blazer.
Only this time it’s not a thirsty and boxy truck like its predecessor, one of the original SUVs that was sold from the 1982 through 2005 model years.
SUVs based on car underpinnings, sometimes called crossover vehicles, are what buyers want these days, and the Chevy brand didn’t have a midsize one with two rows of seats to compete with the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano.
So GM on Thursday unveiled the sculpted Blazer in Atlanta, trying to capitalize on a well-known name that has a lot of equity, said Steve Majoros, Chevy’s director of car and crossover marketing. “There’s still a number of people that either have good positive feelings about that product or still have them in their driveways,” he said.
At its peak in 1996, Chevrolet sold just over 246,000 Blazers.
The new Blazer is far from a box. It sits relatively low to the ground and has futuristic creases on the sides and a low-angle windshield to give it a sporty look. Chevy says it will come standard with a 193-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with an optional 305 horsepower 3.6-liter V6. All models will have stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at red traffic lights, plus nine-speed automatic transmissions that will help gas mileage.
Gas mileage and price weren’t released by GM. Chevy hopes to take a chunk out of Grand Cherokee sales, one of the more popular and profitable vehicles in the Jeep lineup, in the growing midsize SUV segment. Last year Fiat Chrysler sold nearly 159,000 Grand Cherokees.
The Blazer, due in showrooms early next year, comes as American buyers continue their shift from cars to trucks and SUVs. This year trucks and SUVs accounted for about two-thirds US new-vehicle sales, with cars making up the rest.


Volkswagen to end iconic ‘Beetle’ cars in 2019

Updated 13 September 2018
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Volkswagen to end iconic ‘Beetle’ cars in 2019

NEW YORK: Volkswagen announced Thursday it would end production of its iconic "Beetle" cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles.
The move comes as Volkswagen emphasizes electric autos and larger family-oriented vehicles, said Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America.
But Woebcken opened the door to reviving the model at some point, alluding to the company's 2017 decision to unveil a revamped Volkswagen Bus as a possible template.
"Never say never," he said in a statement.
Volkswagen plans to offer the two final edition models in both coupe and convertible styles. The cars will include nods to earlier versions and be priced at $23,045 and up, the company said.
"The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle's many devoted fans," Woebcken said.
The sedans made their US debut in the 1950s and were popularized with the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug."
US sales ceased in 1979, but the vehicle continued to be produced in Mexico and Brazil, according to Car and Driver. VW revived the "New Beetle" in the US 1997.
However, the vehicle's history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler.