GM watches Ford-Jeep's fight from the sidelines

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General Motors‘ decision not to join Ford and Jeep in a renewed battle for off-road supremacy is reportedly not sitting well with the company’s top executive.

The buzz surrounding the resurrected Bronco contrasts with the criticism directed at GM over its revival of another dormant SUV nameplate two years ago: the Chevrolet Blazer.

Little about the crossover of today harkens to the beastly Blazers of the past. Its relaunch made hardly a ripple — at least outside the UAW, which encouraged a boycott because the new version is imported from Mexico. Automotive News certainly did not dedicate the entire last page of an issue to the Blazer’s return.

“The mountain of pre-orders for Michigan-made, compact Broncos flooding Ford Motor Co. is a harsh reminder that GM’s Blazer revival as just another sporty midsize crossover, something it originally wasn’t, is shaping up to be one big missed opportunity,” wrote Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes. “No less than CEO Mary Barra, I’m told, tersely reminded senior product planners as much in a meeting amid last week’s Bronco brouhaha.”

Howes called the Blazer’s return “a cautionary tale of misreading the market, of squandering an iconic brand name.”

Ford certainly has made those kinds of mistakes over the years, too. But in this case, no matter how the new Bronco fares against Jeep, the Blue Oval already has notched an early win by getting into the heads of GM’s leadership.

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