Automakers Build More Sport-Utility Vehicles like Cars

By McKesson, Mike | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 8, 1994 | Go to article overview

Automakers Build More Sport-Utility Vehicles like Cars


McKesson, Mike, THE JOURNAL RECORD


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. _ Born a decade ago as a compact pickup truck with a back seat and four-wheel drive, the midsize sport-utility vehicle you know today as Cherokee, Explorer or Blazer has pretty much abandoned its roots.

Automakers have listened to the people who are buying more than a million of these "trucks" each year. The result? They are becoming less and less like trucks.

"They didn't want the traditional bucky, trucky ride," Chevrolet Small Truck Program Manager Bob Emerick said Wednesday as he showed off the redesigned 1995 Chevy Blazer.

There are no apologies for Blazer's aerodynamic styling, plush interior and base suspension designed more for the boulevard than the bush.

"Lets not kid ourselves here and believe that people use these vehicles to go off-road," said Chris Cedergren of AutoPacific Group Inc., a Thousand Oaks, Calif., product consultant. "They want the image and look of a sport-utility, but they want the comfort of a car."

Cedergren would get no disagreement from Emerick. This new Blazer is aimed to please people who've never owned a truck.

"They're coming out of a passenger car in a similar price range," Emerick said. The price range starts just under $19,000 for a two-door, two-wheel-drive model and goes up from there.

GM spent close to $2 billion to redesign the "S-Series" sport-utility vehicles known as Chevrolet S-Blazer, GMC Jimmy S and Oldsmobile Bravada. …

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