Gearheads with even a passing interest in the auto industry know that most so-called ‘Detroit’ brands sell their products in a number of different markets. Chevrolet does big business in Brazil, for instance, a country which seems to enjoy pickup trucks one size smaller than the Colorado. South of the equator, this little bowtie is called the Montana and it’s built on a unibody chassis shared with a small crossover.

If that sounds a lot like the popular Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, you’re exactly right.

Chevy has been releasing some teaser videos in the lead up to revealing a new-for-’23 Montana, and we’re moved to observe that this rig would likely find success in North America. Its size appears to be right in line with the Maverick and Santa Cruz, a pair of vehicles which have received a great deal of attention from buyers on this continent thanks to their friendly dimensions and reasonable running costs. With an open bed for making runs to the hardware store on weekends, they’re as much truck as most customer will every truly need (whether some will admit that or not is another speaking point altogether).

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

the 2023 chevy montana is as a new unibody pickup truck — for brazil

2023 Chevrolet Montana Photo by GM promotional video

The camouflaged Montana shown in these screencaps taken from GM promotional videos show a machine sharing familial styling DNA with other present-day Chevy vehicles, which is not a bad thing. One video on the GM Brazil media site shows the briefest of glances at the interior, promising a cabin which could mimic many cues found in the new Silverado and Colorado cabins — namely around the infotainment screen. Again, this is not a bad thing.

So what’s stopping GM from offering the Montana in North America as a foil to what’s on offer at Ford and Hyundai? Likely the same things which are stopping Stellantis from offering the Fiat Toro as a badge-engineered Dodge Rampage or Ram Dakota — powertrain options and overall cost. Thanks to the mysteries of geopolitical strife in the 1960s, pickups assembled outside of North America are subject to hefty taxation, making them uncompetitively expensive compared to trucks built at home. Also, gasoline-powered engines with super tiny displacements don’t often play well in Peoria, while diesel is a non-starter in this segment these days.

Still, the Maverick and Santa Cruz (we don’t talk about Ridgeline here) are proving there’s a market for small unibody trucks in North America. If Chevy does bring this thing to our shores, let’s hope they call it the El Camino.

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