General Motors plans to add a new Chevy crossover that will be slotted above the compact Equinox and below the full-size Traverse, according to three people familiar with the plan.
The move underscores how mainstream brands are following the lead of luxury marques by finding inventive ways to fit more flavors of crossovers into their showrooms.
Until recently, most automakers stacked their crossover offerings according to a Starbucks-like menu: tall, grande and venti. But Chevrolet and, increasingly, other brands see opportunities to spread those offerings among four size categories to slake consumers' growing thirst for crossovers.
Many of the latest entries are showing up at the small end, such as the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3. GM was among the first big automakers to go small in the U.S., adding the Buick Encore in 2013 and the Chevy Trax in December 2014.
The coming Chevy model, on the other hand, will be inserted in the middle of the lineup, as a grande plus. And it will require GM to make some adjustments.
Step one will be to downsize the popular Equinox. It will shrink a bit when the next generation appears in early 2017, shifting to the same global compact platform that will underpin the redesigned Chevy Cruze and Opel Astra cars, due out early next year.
That creates more room for the new three-row crossover to slide in between the Equinox and the Traverse, which also is scheduled for a redesign, in mid-2017. The new vehicle will be a short-wheelbase version of the Traverse, the sources said.