General Motors says new generation Chevy Blazer will be built in MEXICO in blow to Trump

General Motors deals blow to Trump‘s demands to build cars in the U.S. as it says new generation Chevy Blazer will be built in MEXICO

General Motors Co is going ahead with its plan to manufacture the new Chevrolet Blazer SUV in Mexico, a spokesman for the automaker said, despite criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump over making vehicles abroad.

Trump has been pressing automakers to build more vehicles in the United States under efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

‘We remain committed to working with the administration on a modernized NAFTA,‘ GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said, adding the decision was made years ago.

GM said the decision to build in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, was made years ago and that the Blazer‘s engines are made in the U.S. 

Trump has previously criticized GM for building vehicles in Mexico for sale in the United States.

The United Auto Workers union called the decision disappointing. ‘This is all happening while UAW-GM workers here in the U.S. are laid off and unemployed,‘ the union said in a statement.

Automakers have called NAFTA a success, allowing them to integrate production throughout North America and make production competitive with Asia and Europe.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA unless the deal can be reworked in a way that favors the United States.

The Blazer was part of the Chevrolet line-up from 1982 until 2005 but was different from the new vehicle unveiled in Atlanta.

The Blazer, due in showrooms early next year, comes as American buyers continue their shift from cars to trucks and SUVs. This year trucks and SUVs accounted for about two-thirds U.S. new-vehicle sales, with cars making up the rest. 

SUVs based on car underpinnings, sometimes called crossover vehicles, are what buyers want these days, and the Chevy brand didn‘t have a midsize one with two rows of seats to compete with the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano.

GM is trying to capitalize on a well-known name that has a lot of equity, said Steve Majoros, Chevy‘s director of car and crossover marketing.

‘There‘s still a number of people that either have good positive feelings about that product or still have them in their driveways,‘ he said.

At its peak in 1996, Chevrolet sold just over 246,000 Blazers.

The new Blazer is far from a box. It sits relatively low to the ground and has futuristic creases on the sides and a low-angle windshield to give it a sporty look. 

Chevy says it will come standard with a 193-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with an optional 305 horsepower 3.6-liter V6. 

All models will have stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at red traffic lights, plus nine-speed automatic transmissions that will help gas mileage.

Gas mileage and price weren‘t released by GM. Chevy hopes to take a chunk out of Grand Cherokee sales, one of the more popular and profitable vehicles in the Jeep lineup, in the growing midsize SUV segment. Last year Fiat Chrysler sold nearly 159,000 Grand Cherokees.    

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