Next Equinox to shrink, go global.
June 6, 2012
By: Nick Saporito
Chevrolet recently announced an all-new global crossover named the Trax. Based on the same sub-compact architecture as the upcoming Buick Encore, the Trax is intended to slot into a new segment of small utes around the world. Despite the global inference, the Trax is not bound for the U.S. because GM feels the next Chevrolet Equinox will be sufficient for the brand’s home market.
Like the Trax, the next-generation Equinox will be a global product. In fact, the vehicle will be replacing both the Equinox in North America and the Captiva, which is Chevy’s midsize crossover in many global markets. Today both Equinox and Captiva are based upon variants of GM’s Theta architecture, though there is very little commonality between them.
According to sources familiar with GM product plans, the next Equinox is going to shrink a bit in size, which is not all that surprising. The current Equinox straggles between the compact and midsize segments today; being just on the verge of large enough for a third row seat, but GM has elected to bypass the added passenger space.
The next Equinox’s global designation can be accredited to its new platform. GM is ditching the current regionalized platform in favor of the latest variant of GM’s Delta architecture. The switch not only shrinks the Equinox, but will also give GM the flexibility to fairly easily produce the crossover on other continents. The new Equinox is set to arrive in 2015 as a 2016 model.
With the slight downsize of the Equinox, GM product planners elected not to bring the smaller Trax to the U.S. market, citing that the two would be too close in size and confused consumers. Despite the decision, GMI has confirmed that the Trax is fully “federalized” to sell in the U.S. market, were GM to change their minds.
GM currently feels the Trax is best served in global markets outside the U.S., where the crossover segments are more fragmented and customers take note of smaller vehicle sizes more discernibly than U.S. customers.