“HOW do you trump a colossus of the new-vehicle market? The most simplistic theory would be to introduce a product that appears to render the segment leader obsolete – as well as overpriced – and, of course, pummel the market with provocative marketing messages about the newcomer.
As it stands, the now-ubiquitous Toyota Fortuner is a perennial sales success produced by the maker of South Africa’s top-selling LCV. Its new rival, the Trailblazer, bears the insignia of a brand that is best known, at least since its reintroduction to the local market, for value-for-money runabouts and family cars. Sales of the Australian-built Lumina and Korean-made Captiva soft-roader have been less than stellar. Not a good start.
In its defence, the Trailblazer is not merely a closed-cab, urban-oriented spin-off of an established bakkie platform. It was designed in Brazil, is built in Thailand and powered by a Duramax turbodiesel developed in collaboration with Italian company VM Motori. Granted, it is based on a shortened wheelbase of a well-known upcoming Japanese one-tonne bakkie, the new Isuzu KB, but this rather eclectic four-wheeled contrivance does not have a leaf-spring rear suspension, as one of its rivals does, and sports a family-friendly MPV-like seven-seater configuration.”