General Motors (NYSE:GM) unveiled the new 2015 Chevrolet Trax at last week's New York International Auto Show.
Or at least, it had a new Trax at the show. But there wasn't much fanfare around it. And that's too bad, because the Trax has the makings of a solid new entry for the General.
But GM had an unusually subdued presence during last week's media days at the New York show. While GM did host a couple of events at separate sites, it had no press conferences, no events, at the show itself -- a sign that GM has hunkered down while it works through a major recall debacle.
That's very unusual, and it's a marked contrast from GM's presence at the Detroit show in January. Back then, GM had a brand-new executive team, and President Dan Ammann and global product chief Mark Reuss were in a mood to celebrate at a Chevy event where they showed off a hot new Corvette.
It wasn't like that in New York, where most of GM's displays were set up in an area separate from the main show floor. But GM did bring some new products to the show, including the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible -- and including the Chevy Trax, an arguably much more important product for GM right now.
So what about the Chevy Trax? It's a small crossover SUV that will go on sale in the U.S. early next year. It's not an all-new product -- it has been on sale in some other parts of the world for a couple of years now. It's closely related to the Buick Encore that GM launched here last year, as well as the Opel Mokka that GM sells in Europe. It's also closely related to the subcompact Chevy Sonic, which gives you an idea of its size -- it'll be the smallest of Chevy's SUVs.
GM is launching the Trax in the U.S. (and in China, where it just went on sale) because the market for small crossovers and SUVs has been getting very hot, not just here but around the world. We didn't have to look far to see evidence of that, as the Trax wasn't the only new small crossover we saw in New York: Fiat Chrysler (NASDAQOTH:FIATY) showed off the new Jeep Renegade, and Honda (NYSE:HMC) released photos of its upcoming Fit-based HR-V. Both will compete directly with the Trax.
When it arrives at U.S. Chevy dealers early next year, the Trax will be offered with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower, along with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional, and several high-tech features will be offered, including a touch-screen infotainment system.
GM hasn't announced U.S. pricing for the Trax yet. Assuming that the price is competitive, the Trax looks like it could be a strong entry. It has good bloodlines: The Encore has done well in China (and exceeded GM's expectations here), and the Mokka has been a hit in Europe.
We -- the Motley Fool's John Rosevear and Rex Moore -- were able to spend some time up close with a new Trax in New York, and we brought you a closer look: