During a recent trip to General Motor's Rayong manufacturing facility in Thailand, we got wind of a standing agreement between Isuzu Motors and GM that bars the sale of the Chevrolet Colorado in markets where the D-Max has a presence. This explains why The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), distributor of Chevrolet in the Philippines, lacks a pickup in its growing local portfolio. The big news is that this agreement will be expiring very soon.
It is no secret that the locally available Isuzu D-Max and the Chevrolet Colorado sold abroad are twins, save for a few exterior and interior details. Both pickups are even built on the same assembly line in the Rayong plant.
"Under the soon-to-expire arrangement, GM cannot sell in certain markets," said Martin Apfel, GM Southeast Asia operations president. He added that the manufacturing partnership between GM and Isuzu is also about to end.
"We will no longer be contract-assembling and -building the D-Max in the next generation of trucks," said Apfel. "The next generation of Chevys will be more unique and far more differentiated. We need our plant capacity right here for what we need to sell. This facility will export in far more markets than it currently does. Isuzu has elected to build their own models."
Representatives from TCCCI have yet to confirm whether the Chevrolet Colorado will be arriving this year, but we do know that it is in to distributor's best interest to have a complete vehicle portfolio. If the Colorado arrives, expect the pickup wars to become even more interesting.