Analysis: Chevy’s Blazer electric SUV fights to stand out in the crowd

DETROIT, July 14 (Reuters) – General Motors Co’s (GM.N) electric Chevy Blazer SUV will be vital to the automaker’s efforts to nab Tesla Inc in the U.S. electric vehicle market, but until it arrives in showrooms next year, it will battle a host of vehicles to run second in a segment dominated by Tesla’s Model Y.

The traffic jams of the next few years in the electric SUV segment could define the winners and losers of the US automotive market for years to come.

The U.S. electric SUV market segment is expected to more than double to 2 million vehicles per year by 2026, according to AutoForecast Solutions, which tracks automakers’ future production plans. However, more than 90 models could be competing for very small slices of that pie, AutoForecast Solutions and other analysts said.

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Tesla’s Model Y is by far the best-selling electric SUV today, and most analysts expect that to remain the case four years from now.

LMC Automotive predicts that by 2025, the Model Y will account for 15.6% of a 13-vehicle compact and midsize electric SUV segment, including Ford Motor Co (FN) Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai ( 005380.KS) Ioniq5, and the future R2S compact SUV from Rivian (RIVN.O). Chevy’s Blazer is expected to be in second place, but with just 6.6% of segment sales.

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Bank of America analyst John Murphy warned last month in his annual “Car Wars” assessment of future models that automakers risk saturating the market with electric and conventional crossover utility vehicles, or CUVs.

“SUV segment profitability is likely to decline significantly over time as competition intensifies,” Murphy wrote.

Faced with this competitive challenge, Chevrolet dealerships will begin taking customer reservations for the electric Blazer on July 18, months before the vehicles are promised to arrive in the spring of 2023.

Brad Sowers, owner of the Jim Butler Auto Group, which includes three Chevrolet stores in Missouri, said customers were already asking about the electric Blazer, and the Equinox electric SUV that GM says will start at $30,000, or about half the price of a Model Y. Sowers expects the Blazer to start at $36,000.

“It’s interesting to me because I’m in the Midwest, certainly not early adopters of anything. But I’ll tell you, I think people are excited about not only the Blazer but also the Equinox. “, said Sowers.

GM chief executive Mary Barra aims to deliver 400,000 new electric vehicles in North America in 2022 and 2023. Successful launches of the Blazer and Equinox will be key to achieving that goal.

So far this year, GM is lagging not only Tesla, but also Ford and Hyundai in the U.S. EV market. GM’s best-selling electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt, went out of production for months due to a battery recall. Production of new electric vehicle models, including the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq and Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup, is just beginning.

GM’s decision to start promoting the electric Blazer until launch could help Chevy dealerships “keep the buzz going” as Ford and other brands ramp up sales of the new electric vehicles they have today, it said. said Chevy dealers.

“It’s about keeping the interest in the EV space going as it relates to the Chevy brand because we’re really stuck with a vehicle that we can’t really sell in the Bolt EV,” said Steve Hurley, partner. director at Stingray Chevrolet in Plant. City, Florida, east of Tampa.

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Reporting by Joe White and Ben Klayman in Detroit Editing by Nick Zieminski

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