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GM: Refinement lures bakkie-buyers

2014-01-13 14:47

REVIVING THE US BAKKIE MARKET: GM hopes it can attract bakkie buyers to purchase its new Canyon, launched at the 2014 Detroit auto show. Image: AFP

DETROIT. Michigan - General Motors is banking on refinement to win back buyers of its bakkies as the it launches a new Canyon at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

In the hope of attracting new buyers, the automaker is rolling out two small bakkies, Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado, in a segment in which Honda and Nissan are struggling and that Ford and Chrysler have abandoned.

IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Detroit show

In the 1990's Americans bought more than a million small bakkies each year, attracted by their modest fuel consumption and ability to haul light loads. Larger bakkies hauled more and eventually caught up to the smaller ones in fuel consumption.


As a result sales, plummetted and in 2013 Americans only bought 227 000 small pick-ups, 14% fewer than in 2012.

Vice-president of GMC marketing Tony DiSalle,said research shows consumers quit buying small pick-ups in favor of big crossover SUV's and mid-size sedans because pick-ups don't offer comfortable and quiet interiors, advanced features and good fuel economy. The Canyon, he said, had those features yet was still "a real pick-up".

The Canyon comes with either a 2.5 four or  3.6 V6 petrol engine. A diesel is in the works. The engines are mated to a six-speed auto and models can be two or all-wheel drive.

The cabin has aluminum accents and soft plastics that are more upscale than those of the Colorado. The Canyon also sports a touch screen with USB ports, has six air bags and look backwards with a rear-view parking camera.

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