GMC Becomes More Thrifty
GM's truck specialist expands its product offerings to include more fuel-efficient models to appeal to a larger audience.
At the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, GMC unveiled a stylish people mover and a decked-out version of a current crossover, moves aimed at expanding the brand's product offerings beyond trucks and full-size SUVs in an effort to succeed in today's competitive and thriftier marketplace.
GMC is calling the Granite Concept an "urban utility vehicle." We say it's a cross between a small utility vehicle and minivan, or what is known in Europe as a multipurpose vehicle. With a wheels-to-the-corners stance and aggressive looks, the Granite Concept is aimed at a younger buyer. "This car would be a way to get GMC down into a size, fuel-economy and price bracket where it could do much, much more volume," said General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz.
Based on the Chevrolet Orlando, the Granite is two feet shorter than GMC's smallest vehicle, the Terrain. But unlike the Orlando, the Granite offers seating for five instead of seven. The side doors open "cabinet style," with the rear doors opening from the front, not the rear, to reveal an interior with suedelike upholstery and satin aluminum and anodized trim.
The powertrain teams a 138-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. "Frankly, we're going to need more vehicles like this for fuel-economy regulations," Lutz said. (Dual-clutch transmissions have proved more efficient than traditional gearboxes.) Should the Granite get the green light (i.e., be approved for production), it will be marketed as a premium small crossover, priced higher than the Orlando.
Next up on the unveiling parade was the Acadia Denali. One of the reasons GMC has remained successful within a struggling GM is the high-end Denali versions of its products. Packed with money-making options, Denali models give dealers high-profit products to sell, and customers get luxurious vehicles with unique looks and all the amenities. GMC says 45 percent of all Yukons sold are Denalis, which certainly helps the bottom line.
The Acadia Denali due to hit the market in the third quarter of 2010 as a 2011 model. It shares design language with the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, which have been well-received by the automotive media and are good sellers for GMC.
On the outside, the Acadia Denali features a chromed honeycomb grille, high-intensity discharge headlights, chromed 20-inch wheels, monochromatic body cladding, a dual "skyscape" sunroof, and unique front and rear fascias. Inside, the Acadia Denali comes standard with perforated leather seats and door trim, heated and cooled front seats, chromed and lit sill plates, mahogany wood trim and a heads-up display. The Denali is also quieter, thanks to triple door seals, additional sound deadening material and premium acoustic glass. Like other Acadias, the Denali will be offered with front- or all-wheel drive with seating for seven or eight. The lone engine is a 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that promises to deliver 24 mpg highway.