California Autos Examiner

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pontiac Torrent Replacement to be GMC Terrain

Update 4: I spoke with a member of the GMC communications team and as expected they were not willing to confirm anything in the Automotive News story. "That's all speculative," said Randy Fox when asked about the Terrain for the US market. Mr. Fox was also not at liberty to discuss GMC's 2008 auto show plans. So, at the end of the day this update is pretty worthless, isn't it?

Update 3: I e-mailed the author of the Automotive News article and he confirmed that the Terrain for the US market will not simply be the rebadged Vue shown at the Dubai show. It is interesting the GMC would chose to name two different Theta-based vehicles in the different markets with the same name. I'm curious to see how much the GMC version varies from the Vue. As I had mentioned, I think the GMC front clip looks rather good on the Vue.

Update 2: The article is now available for free at Autoweek.

Update: The Automotive News story is now available for those folks who are subscribers. It isn't confirmed that the US Terrain will be the same as the Middle East version. The story mentions that it is Theta based and that GM showed the Terrain to its US dealers about eight months ago. I am betting that the ME and US versions of the Terrain will be very close if not identical. One item to note is that the story mentions the Terrain being assembled at CAMI Automotive Inc. plant in Ingersoll, Ontario and not Ramos Arizpe, Mexico where the Vue is assembled. CAMI currently assembles the Theta platform mates Equinox, Torrent and Suzuki XL-7 SUV. Badge engineering can be frustrating, but the Vue, Equinox and Torrent were all kissing cousins before, so the cycle seems to be repeating. GM managers have been quizzed repeatedly on the badge engineering aspect of their crossovers, but what it boils down to is GM sells more units with the separate brands than if they only had two. Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealerships will give the platform more exposure than Saturn alone could. GM is also probably betting that some GMC buyers would never walk into a Saturn dealership. I would expect the "Theta Premium" Cadillac and Saab versions to be more unique in appearance that their brethren.

GM continues to specialize Pontiac, GMC and Buick into one channel with fewer overlapping products and more focused product offerings. Automotive News is reporting that for the 2009 model year Pontiac will lose the Torrent while GMC will gain a rebadged Saturn Vue called Terrain.

We've seen the Terrain already as it debuted at the Kuwait International Auto Show. I think the Vue is an attractive vehicle and the GMC design language seems to improve things even more. Of course, we'll be seeing even more of this platform as the Cadillac BRX and Saab 9-4x will be arriving in the not too distant future.

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