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For more than 80 years, Chevrolet has been a pioneering brand in SUVs (sport utility vehicles) –now the world’s fastest-growing vehicle segment. As Chevrolet prepares to launch an all-new SUV in Thailand this year, it is time for a quick history lesson.

THE BEGINNING

It began in 1935 when Chevrolet introduced the Suburban Carryall, an eight-passenger vehicle built on a truck chassis. Although people did not commonly use the terms “sport utility vehicle” and “SUV” until the 1980s, the early Suburban had the hallmarks of the segment, such as the two-box shape with elongated cabin, three-row bench seating and windows all around. Today, Suburban is still in production – the industry’s longest-running nameplate – and one of many models that has helped Chevrolet popularize the SUV segment around the world.

CHEVROLET’S SECOND SUV

Chevrolet’s second SUV was the K5 Blazer, the first of several similarly named vehicles and the first to emphasize sportiness. Launched in 1969, the K5 rode on a shorter wheelbase than the Suburban and had a removable top to make it an unusual convertible. By combining off-road capabilities with luxury features, the K5 helped inspire a generation of outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts to go off-road for fun and adventure. The K5 was among the first vehicles in the industry described as a “sport utility vehicle” in advertising. It was a big hit for Chevrolet.

TRAILBLAZER NAMEPLATE

In 1982, Chevrolet introduced a new model called S-10 Blazer (or simply Blazer) – one of the industry’s first compact SUVs and one of its most lauded. In 1995, it won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year and Playboy’s Truck of the Year. In 1999, Chevrolet introduced the TrailBlazer nameplate as an upscale trim line of the Blazer. Later, TrailBlazer became a separate model and won the North American Truck of the Year award. These days, a new generation of Trailblazer sells in many global markets. Most recently, Chevrolet reintroduced the Blazer as a midsize crossover for North America.

AMERICAN SUVs

Chevrolet Tahoe (on display at the 2019 Seoul Motor Show) arrived in 1995. Similar in style to Suburban, but less long, this full-size SUV takes its name from the rugged and scenic area around Lake Tahoe in the western U.S. Now in its fourth generation, Tahoe is popular with law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency medical services in the U.S. In fact, Tahoe makes many appearances in Hollywood movies and TV shows as transportation for U.S. secret service personnel. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury drives one in the Marvel movies.


DRAWING FROM OUR HERITAGE

1936 : Chevrolet Suburban

1946 : Chevrolet Suburban

1951 : Chevrolet Suburban

1969 : Chevrolet K5 Blazer convertible

1976 : Chevrolet Suburban

1983 : Chevrolet S10 Blazer

1995 : Chevrolet Tahoe Sport

2009 : Chevrolet Captiva

2012 : Chevrolet Trailblazer