“We don't see any real interaction between the cars,” Jamie Dewhurst, national marketing manager for Chevrolet cars and crossovers in Canada, told Automotive News Canada. “There's not a whole lot of overlap in terms of price. They're very different buyers.
“Mid-SUV buyers are generally older with a household income that supports buying a vehicle in the $45,000 to $50,000 range. Equinox does a great job of appealing with … younger families that are looking to trade up from a compact car or mid car into an SUV.”
Per market demand, there will be some entry-level features on Blazer that are unique to Canada that meet consumers’ winter-weather expectations.
“What is unique to Canada is even on the entry-level Blazer, the 2.5 [litre] FWD, you will have heated seats and remote start,” Dewhurst said. “That's something that we always work with the U.S. on and make sure that it's available to Canadians.”
There is an entry-level trim for each engine, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder rated at 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm and a 3.6-litre V6 that produces 308 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm ($37,195 and $39,395 respectively with freight and PDI and AC tax). Each of those base models will be equipped with front-wheel drive. All trims priced above those base models will come with all-wheel drive, which Dewhurst said will collectively account for 75 to 80 per cent of sales.
To access premium cold-condition features such as a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, however, buyers will need to look to the top-priced RS and Premier models, which could prove detrimental when several competitors offer these desirable features at lower price points.
While premium trims are expected to produce some up-front volume, Dewhurst said that the middle-priced True North Edition will ultimately be the sales leader.
“It represents the crossroads of content and value,” he said, “We expect it to be a really good seller for us. It's priced great (at $45,395), which is right in the heart of the SUV segment for Canada.
“What you typically see is dealers gravitate [initially] towards the higher end, so RS and Premier (priced at $48,395 and $50,795, respectively), and that's what we're seeing today. But as we get a full rollout and allocation starts to really build throughout the country, I think you're going to see the True North Edition probably be our biggest seller.”
Political pressure aside, Dewhurst said the brand expects Blazer to be a success for the Chevrolet brand in Canada.
“We're very confident that we're going to sell every Blazer that we can get our hands on,” he said. “Dealers are asking for more. We've even sold a few before we’ve officially rolled out anything close to an incentive plan.”