DETROIT — Chevrolet is adding a midsized SUV to its lineup next year.
The Blazer will be a two-row SUV, taking on the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee. It is the first and only two-row midsized SUV offered by General Motors.
Chevrolet is adding the Blazer to appease consumers’ growing appetites for larger, roomier vehicles, said Steve Majoros, director for Chevrolet marketing for cars and crossovers.
Mark Phelan: Why shoppers will want the all-new 2019 Chevy Blazer
“It’s a reaction to the fundamental market change to SUVs,” said Majoros.
Consumer demand for midsized SUVs is increasing. January through April, the midsized SUV market share in the U.S. has grown by nearly 1 percentage point from a year before, Majoros said.
That means 11.5 percent of U.S. car owners drive a midsize SUV, he said. Chevrolet expects the segment’s growth to outpace the demand for three-row midsized SUVs going forward, he said.
Put simply: “You can’t have too many in the lineup,” Majoros said. “And this is an addition to our portfolio rather than an update, so it will bring new customers.”
Chevrolet views the vehicle as resistant to rising fuel prices.
“In the last fuel shock we had in 2008 and 2009, the midsize SUVs remained really strong. The segment didn’t disappear,” said Rick Spina, executive chief engineer for compact and crossover SUVs. “Consumers today, when they think of general fuel economy and the economics, they know fuel economy is good across all segments.”
Chevrolet has improved retail sales in recent years in part because it has been able to attract new customers with products such as the Bolt EV, the Colorado small pickup and the Trax crossover, said Majoros. In the first quarter, Chevrolet reported total sales rose 3.6 percent from the year-ago quarter to 957,343 vehicles.
The brand finished 2017 with an 11.2 percent market share, up one full percentage point from four years ago, he said.
“The introduction of the all-new Blazer builds on that momentum and further strengthens the most comprehensive lineup of crossovers and SUVs on the market today,” said Alan Batey, GM’s president of North America and head of global Chevrolet in a statement.
The 2019 Blazer, which will be built at GM’s manufacturing plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, will come to market early next year, Majoros said. He declined to be more specific on a time frame, and Chevrolet is not yet releasing the SUV’s price.
“The Edge and Murano are at the lower end of the average transaction price and the Jeep Grand Cherokee is on the high end,” said Majoros. “We’re going to be competitive across the spectrum because of the trim levels.”
The 2018 Nissan Murano starts at $30,800, the 2018 Ford Edge starts at $29,315 and the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a starting price of $30,895.
Chevrolet will offer three trim levels: The Blazer, the RS and the Premiere. The Blazer is the base, the RS trim is sporty with more monotone accents and the Premiere is sophisticated with chrome accents.
Majoros said Chevrolet will start to advertise the SUV early next year across all forms of media. The typical buyer of a two-row SUV has income of $130,000 to $140,000 a year, said Majoros. The design of the vehicle is intended to reflect that level of success.
“It’s about anyone who appreciates high style,” said Mike Pevovar, exterior design director of Chevrolet Blazer. “It’s more of a ‘me’ vehicle. It’s allowed to be a little bit selfish.”
Contact Jamie L. LaReau: email@example.com or 313-222-2149.