General Motors Corp. will build a midsize version of the Avalanche sport/utility pickup for its GMC division at its Oklahoma City assembly plant, sources tell WAW. Codenamed GMT305, the crossover — unlike Avalanche — will feature an open-air retractable notchback over the cargo area, sources say. In his final public appearance, Ron Zarrella, former president of GM North America, gave a quick glimpse of the vehicle at the recent Specialty Equipment Market Assn. show in Las Vegas.

“We'll introduce Avalanche functionality in the midsize truck segment, but with a new twist — an exclusive sport/utility truck,” he says. The name for the new truck and planned yearly volumes are unclear. The crossover will have to share capacity with the GMT370 Chevy TrailBlazer EXT and Envoy XL sport/utility vehicles, extended versions of the midsize GMT360 SUV platform that are expected to begin salable production in early 2002.