Either way, the money ends up in Chevy's bank account.
Chevrolet recently introduced the all-new 2024 Trax, and it appears to be a home run.
It costs under $22,000 (base), is only available in front-wheel-drive format, and is powered by a frugal 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. The design is also a big upgrade from its frumpy predecessor, and it now appears to be styled to attract the younger buyers it's so obviously aimed at.
There appears to be one problem, however. If you look at Chevrolet's local range, you'll note that it has two vehicles competing in the same segment. The 2024 Chevrolet Trax is a compact SUV, and so is the Trailblazer. The latter was only introduced locally in 2020, so it won't be culled anytime soon.
It gets even more confusing when you look at Chevy's pricing structure. The new Trax starts at $21,495 in the base LS trim, while the 2RS and Activ trims are the most expensive, both retailing for $24,995. The Trailblazer starts at $23,295 and goes up to $27,395. If you want all-wheel-drive, it will cost an additional $2,000. The mere existence of the AWD option is our first hint why Chevrolet chose to offer two cars in the same segment.
To clear things up, we spoke with Chevrolet at the recent debut of the Trax. According to Chevy, there is room for multiple entries in the segment, which is expected to grow by 32% in the next five years. Most of its rivals have abandoned the segment, handing Chevrolet an easy monopoly.
While these compact crossovers appear to be the same, they're not. The Trax was built down to a budget because there are so few cars left for less than $22,000. Yes, there are some sedans, but consumers demand an SUV.
Thankfully, Chevrolet cut costs in the right places. The Trax's six-speed automatic transmission is less complex and, therefore, cheaper. You can't have it with an AWD system, which reduces the manufacturing complexity.
Finally, there's the shape of the body. You really need to see the 2024 Trax in the flesh. It's longer and lower than the Trailblazer and was obviously built to make the transition from a sedan to a compact SUV easier. The Trax's 25 cubic foot trunk is much larger than the Malibu's trunk, for example.
Chevrolet also has historical data, as this is not the first time the Trax and the Trailblazer have been sold side-by-side.
The Trax will cater to the bottom end of the entry-level segment, while Trailblazer customers are expected to spend more. Chevrolet anticipates that the average transaction price difference will be $5,000, with most Trailblazer customers opting for a higher trim model boasting features that aren't available on the Trax.
The base Trailblazer uses the same 137-horsepower turbocharged triple that's standard across the entire Trax range. Trailblazer customers can upgrade to a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, ramping the output to 155 hp and 174 lb-ft. Shortly after the Trailblazer was introduced, Chevrolet announced that 70% of customers opted for this option, which has remained static.
Finally, roughly 40% of Trailblazer customers opt for the AWD option. These customers likely live in cold-weather states, but the key message is that while these cars appear similar, they're not.
Either way, the money spent goes into the same bank account.