ROSEMONT, IL – Now that the U.S. EPA this week has certified the mileage rating for the new ʼ16 Chevrolet Colorado diesel pickup, “we’re ready to roll with production,” and dealers should start seeing supplies of the truck by the end of the month.
So says Jessica Rogers, Colorado advertising and marketing manager, at an unveiling here of the truck for the Midwest Automotive Media Assn.
“We expect the diesel to account for about 10% of Colorado sales, or about 10,000 units,” Rogers says, adding the diesel will be offered only in the crew-cab version for now.
Buyers are expected to come from a variety of sources, including midsize-truck enthusiasts wanting a higher-mileage, longer-range pickup previously unavailable in the market, as well as fullsize diesel-truck owners wanting to downsize to a lower-priced vehicle. General Motors is the only automaker offering a midsize diesel pickup.
If current heavy-duty fullsize Chevy Silverado diesel owners migrate down to the midsize Colorado diesel, that’s OK with Rogers.
“If they move from Silverado to Colorado, we’ve still kept them in the Chevy family,” she says.
While Colorado sales are up 31% from year-ago, Silverado sales are holding their ground as well, up 15%.
“So Colorado isn’t cannibalizing sales from Silverado now – it is helping grow Silverado sales, and that should be the same with the diesel,” Rogers says.
“We also see demand from the agricultural community, people who have a fullsize diesel to do the work who now want a smaller diesel for everyday usage,” she adds. “With the Colorado diesel rated at 31 mpg (8.5 L/100 km) highway and a driving range of 615 miles (990 km) before refill, this truck is the bridge between urban and suburban usage and differing lifestyles.”
She says the Colorado diesel version is expected to serve another purpose: “To get people into a Chevy showroom who either haven’t been there before or who haven’t been there in a while because it didn’t have a midsize diesel truck.”
Toyota recently said it isn’t offering a diesel version of its midsize Tacoma truck that’s been revamped for ʼ16 because it doesn’t believe buyers want a diesel engine in anything other than a fullsize truck.
“Everyone has their own perception of the market,” Rogers responds. “We see a need to offer more choices in midsize trucks for consumers and we’re excited we’re the only ones offering a diesel.”
The Colorado’s 181-hp 2.8L 4-cyl. turbodiesel’s 31-mpg highway certification makes it the highest-mileage pickup in the market. It also means the diesel is rated at 4-5 mpg (1.7-2.1 km/L) higher than either the 4- or 6-cyl. gasoline engines in the Colorado.
Rogers says demand for Colorado prior to the arrival of the new diesel has been very good, with Los Angeles being the biggest market for midsize pickups.
“We’re on a roll. We’re selling all the Colorados we can build and we have no intention of slowing down,” she says, even though the diesel carries a $3,700 price premium over gasoline versions.
Rogers doesn’t envision any negative impact on Colorado diesel sales as an aftermath of Volkswagen’s troubles with diesel emissions in its cars.
“VW was involved with cars, not trucks, and we’ve met all EPA regulations. This is the cleanest diesel GM has ever produced, so (we) have nothing to hide,” she says.