Procurement

Chevrolet Colorado An 'Appealing Option' for Government Fleets

January 2014, Government Fleet - Feature

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado will be on sale in 2014. The Colorado is pictured upfitted as a beach patrol vehicle, one of its possible uses. Photos courtesy of GM
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado will be on sale in 2014. The Colorado is pictured upfitted as a beach patrol vehicle, one of its possible uses. Photos courtesy of GM

General Motors recently announced it is re­entering the mid-size truck market in the U.S. with its all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. The vehicle fills a need in the government fleet sector for a smaller truck.

“There has been no domestic entry in the mid-size segment since 2012, so we anticipate that the Colorado will be an appealing option for governments,” said Mike Jones, GM Fleet & Commercial product manager for mid-size pickups.

Many Uses for a Smaller Vehicle

Fleet managers have expressed their interest in the vehicle, with some ready to purchase.

“The City of Boston has utilized mid-size pickups in its fleet for years, and we were disappointed to see the Big 3 U.S. automakers recently discontinue production of these units,” said Jim McGonagle, director of Central Fleet for the City of Boston. “We are looking forward to the reintroduction of a smaller pickup, which plays an important role in our Transportation, Inspection Services, Waste Reduction, Highway, and Parks departments. Being in an urban environment, there is always a need for the smallest, most maneuverable, and practical vehicle to fill departmental needs. These small pickups fill that void where a sedan does not have the cargo capacity and a full-size truck is overkill.”

Dennis Falconer, vehicle equipment manager at the City of Boise, Idaho, agreed, commending GM on the vehicle’s stylish design and for providing a vehicle fit for customers’ needs. “It looks like GM did their homework to hit the market with multiple drivetrains, including the diesel option, and multiple cab configurations,” he said.

At the Port of Seattle, Mary Ann Lobdell, compliance and fleet manager, said she already has a request for a mid-size truck at a security terminal. Other applications for mid-size trucks at the port would be for engineers visiting job sites and for crew chiefs and foremen, Lobdell said.

With good experiences with their current Colorado trucks, the City of Chico, Calif., is also interested in the new vehicles. The city has nine older Colorados in service, used by field supervisors, building inspectors, construction inspectors, and parks maintenance staff, said Erik Gustafson, fleet manager for the city. “Our employees like them due to their compact size and ability to be agile in town while hauling tools or supplies,” he added. “So far we have a low cost of ownership with decent fuel economy.”

At Dakota County in Minnesota, Fleet Manager Kevin Schlangen, CPFP, CAFM, CEM, said nearly half of the county’s pickup trucks are mid-size ones. He said the fleet likes them because they have a lower capital cost and get 29% better fuel efficiency than the ½-ton pickup trucks.

In fact, Schlangen has already made plans to order the vehicles in 2014 and has talked to his dealer about it.

“We are planning to purchase six of them this year. Two will replace ¾-ton pickups, two will replace ½-ton pickups, one will replace a Chevrolet S10 pickup, and one will be a crew cab model replacing a 12-­passenger van,” Schlangen said. “Work needs change over the years, and we plan on using these 2015 Colorados to lower operational costs and increase fleet wide average miles per gallon.”

Price Will Determine Success in Fleet

GM has not yet announced pricing for the vehicle, but fleet managers are hoping it will be lower than other currently available mid-size trucks. Lobdell said the price would be a factor in whether the port could purchase and deploy many of the vehicles.

Schlangen agreed, stating that the six trucks he plans to purchase this year “will be a test to see what we do moving forward. If the initial cost is too close to the ½-ton pickups, if the miles per gallon are not high enough, and if the remarketing values are low, then the return on investment will not be there, and we will have to explore future purchasing options.”

The Colorado will be on sale in fall 2014. For vehicle details and specs, visit www.gfleet.com/2015colorado.

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