More Badge Engineering

Not so very long ago I presented half of a study on what GMC actually sold. Today I have decided to present my Chevrolet vs. GMC comparison as an infographic. 

2017 Cheverolet and GMC ranges: Driver to Write studios.
2017 Cheverolet and GMC ranges: (c) Amalgamated Driventowrite Studios Office C.

Not all of GMC’s range is on the infographic. I left out the Denali versions. Denali means adding about circa roughly $10,oooo to the cost of each base vehicle. Every GMC has a Denali line. As it stands, the price differences of the base Chevrolet and base GMCs are small. What might happen is that all the base GMC trucks get deleted and the “Denali line” becomes standard but with more options, to keep the price range the same. Or maybe all the Denali cars get their own sheet metal and the Denali brand is born. GMC could be shuttered or left to

2017 Chevrolet Suburban: source
2017 Chevrolet Suburban: source

deal in actual white goods trucks used by real trades people and construction types. Who knows. GM’s product lines are confusing and my ideas of what could happen are confusing. Maybe Chevrolet will stop selling trucks? The dealers would hate it. So, I suppose as long as people don’t care the insanity will continue.

Finding! I learned there’s no difference between Chevrolet and GMC except the former serves as a foundation for a costly brougham trim pack people might not accept on a Chevrolet. Bill Malcolm offered some insight which I will repeat here because it’s what I would like to have found out if I had done enough research: “Entirely too much effort expended in explaining the non-difference between GMC and Chevy “trucks” and SUVs, really! Neither make commercial “lorries”, these days. That was five decades ago, when the difference was fundamental because different engines completely.

There used to be Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealers and Buick/Pontiac dealers (in the States even some devoted to one only in high volume areas). So two different pickups were needed, Chev for one and GMC for the other. We got Envoys at Chev/Olds dealers, Vauxhalls at Pontiac/Buick, same car different grilles from 1957.”

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

7 thoughts on “More Badge Engineering”

  1. This is so far out of my compass of cultural reference that the only comment I can make is that GM at one time had both an Equinox and Solstice on their books.

    Oh, and the GMC badge was once used on a saloon car. I’ll be most impressed if anyone knows what it was.

  2. No. This one was from some time ago, and was on sale for nearly four years.

  3. Like Robertas this is way off my track. However I can’t get over those prices. I know we might not be comparing the exact same product but €45k for their largest “truck” seems incredibly cheap by European standards.

    1. In the USA I believe that trucks are not subject to the same taxation as cars. For a while in the UK pickups attracted the same taxation as commercial vehicles, leading to a bounce in their popularity. With no indigenous pick up manufacturers to prop up, HMRC quickly closed the loophole on that one.

  4. GMC to my uncertain knowledge has only been available in North America and some of the areas next to US military bases. Usually North American-made General Motors trucks get sold as Chevrolets elsewhere in the world. But who knows what General Motors got up to at one time or another in the past elsewhere, like slapping a GMC badge on a car to flog a few vehicles, where righteous US brand name patriotic citizens would never hear about them and complain.

    There are dozens of Canadian car logos that have never been heard of in the USA, for example, and since the US is pretty inward-looking and the population as a whole not particularly inquisitive of other countries, you used to get astonished American tourists looking at a Fargo pickup, Meteor car or Frontenac car or 1960s Dodge Dart with Plymouth Valiant front clip, and wondering if they had crossed over into the fourth dimension at the border in late July, and “Where’s the snow, anyway? We brought our skis, you know”. This at the 45th parallel, far south of the UK with the hay up to our armpits and strawberry season over. But I digress.

    Isuzu sold the Asuna in Canada in the early nineties.

    This was entirely due to Canadian dealer franchise laws. Whereas the US market was big enough to have some standalone Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and even Cadillac dealers when GM owned 50% of the market, here we got Chev-Olds and Pontiac-Buick-GMC-(Cadillac) dealers, rather like small market areas in the US. Chevy made the Vega, so Pontiac got the Astre just to keep things equal for those squabbling dealer principals. Vauxhalls at PB, Envoys at CO. Ford sold the Falcon, so Lincoln-Mercury got the Frontenac and endlessly on and on.

    From 1955 on or so Canadian Pontiacs were just Chevrolets – a 1961 Pontiac Catalina in the US was simply not sold in Canada, for example. We got instead, astonishingly considering the investment in tooling, a miniaturized US styling meme mounted on a Chevy chassis. Yes, miniaturized, relatively speaking – all US Pontiacs had V8s that year, but the Laurentian had a 261 cubic inch 6 cylinder and three on the tree manual as standard, while being a narrower, shorter caricature of the original with wheels stuck pathetically six inches inward of the body. The 261 was a bigger version of the Chev 235 sold in the US and only used in trucks there, with lineage back to the early 1930s and also installed on Bedford lorries in various versions. That 261 ensured that the Pontiac cost $150 more than the Chevy for no reason at all other than to amortize the tooling and to add gold thread to the upholstery. I have to say in passing, that old 4 main bearing six was a real smoothie though.

    Books have been written on the badging subject for the anorak brigade, where speculation on why the Chrysler LA V8 was 313 cubic inches in Canada, but the US one was 318, etc.etc. occupies a chapter. I personally find these matters only of passing interest, although my brain has tended to absorb endless detail, without ever asking my permission I might add, grrr, like the bore and stroke dimensions of the Ford 105E engine 80.96 x 48.41 mm, plus dozens of other engines’ specs occupying valuable brain storage. We all have areas of the vehicular universe that particularly appeal to us!

    I notice that CarDesignNews has a version of what GMC is about that is clearly made up in the author’s head, even in 2017. I quote:

    “the GM-owned brand (GMC) doesn’t sell outside these territories. But in America it has a much-admired rough, tough blue-collar image, largely due to its trucks. These are the connoisseur’s pickup; comfortably above lesser models from Ford and Chevy, they’re known for rock-solid construction, massive durability and lashings of good old American chrome.”

    Ha, ha, ha. AND, they want money to read the website, which I’m sure is just as authoritative on other matters. UK-based, naturally, where the Boy’s Spotter series of books originated. The site is a hoot.

    Now that, my friends, is how absolute rubbish and old wives’ tales get born! As everyone knows or should, GMC stands for Garage Man’s Companion.

    1. I remember being bemused from my 1963 Observer’s Book of Automobiles to find that some of the US cars that I was familiar with from TV series had Canadian cousins that were like them, but not quite. Even to a pre-teen with no commercial sense, it made no sense.

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