Apparently, Chevy Thought the Original Blazer Would Sell Like Garbage
Chevrolet recently pulled back the curtain on a new version of an old name with the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, a two-row crossover to slot in between the Equinox and Traverse in the lineup. So, as we look forward to a near future with the new Blazer, let’s take a moment to look backward and reflect on an interesting fact: according to Chevy’s former truck head, Chevrolet thought, at first, that the original Blazer would sell like crap.
The story comes from Chevrolet’s New Roads owner’s magazine, from a conversation between Paul Hitch, Chevrolet’s truck engineering boss from 1965 to 1976, currently 101 years old and living on a coastal island in Georgia, and Eric Stanczak, current chief engineer for full-size trucks for all of General Motors.
Blazing a new trail
Hitch related the story of the Blazer’s beginning, saying, “We were trying to compete with the Ford Bronco, so we discussed it. I said, ‘Why don’t we just take a Chevrolet pickup, cut the wheel base to 104 inches, marry the pickup box to it, and see what that does?’”
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Apparently Chevrolet’s sales department held a somewhat dim view of the Blazer, though, because Hitch said that after sending it over to them, they estimated annual sales of a dismal 300 models per year.
“Pete [Estes, then general manager for Chevrolet] said, ‘Well, go ahead and do it anyway,’” Hitch said. Chevrolet sold 5,000 Blazer models in its first year, and ran out of tooling capacity to make more.