The boom in truck sales across the United States has helped transform GMC in a retail powerhouse.
“We have a lot of momentum behind,” noted Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of sales and marketing. “We have the highest average transaction price of any no-premium brand in the industry.”
The success of GMC’s upscale Denali sub-brand is now 30% of the GMC sales and has helped boost GMC transaction prices, he noted. More success is expected in 2016, which has gotten off to a promising start with GMC sales up 2.5% through April.
DiSalle added almost two thirds of the big, full-size Yukon sport utility vehicles and 50% of Sierra heavy-duty pickup trucks that GMC sells belong to the Denali family. The Denali family has expanded to include the GMC Terrain. The brand is also preparing to launch the Denali 2017 Acadia and next fall the Denali version of the GMC Canyon will make its debut.
DiSalle added that GMC is now promoting its “All Terrain” models for outdoor enthusiasts, who want a vehicle capable of going off-road. The obvious target is Fiat Chrysler’s highly successful Jeep brand. GMC recently launched an All-Terrain version of the Sierra and an All-Terrain package is now available for buyers of the Canyon.
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The line-up for the launch of the 2017 Acadia, which is 740 pound lighter, seven inches shorter and doesn’t have the height or width of the current Acadia, will not only debut with Denali model when it goes on sale in late spring or early summer, but also it will feature an All-Terrain version, DiSalle said.
“GMC is a strong, growing premium brand and the Acadia is a cornerstone of our success story,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing, at the Acadia’s product launch.
“The all-new Acadia leverages GMC’s proven SUV experience to take on and shake up one of the largest vehicle segments, with a strong blend of design, technology and capability,” Aldred said.
DiSalle said GMC used the downsizing of the Acadia to re-position the vehicle to fit squarely between the compact Terrain and full-size Yukon, closer to the heart of the SUV market where it will compete with vehicles such as the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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Depending on the model, it is available with five-, six- or seven-passenger seating, while offering greater maneuverability than the first-generation model, said Paul Spadafora, the chief engineer for the new Acadia.
The new Acadia is more refined, more luxurious and comes with the latest in technology, noted Spadafora, adding it offers offers functionality in an efficient package.
GMC, however, isn’t walking away from the old version of the Acadia, which was a very successful vehicle with sales totaling more than 95,000 units last years.
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The current plan is to continue building the old version of the larger Acadia for nine months into early 2017 to ease through the launch of the 2017 model. Roughly 25% of Acadia owners actually lease their vehicles and 25% of them have been returning to lease another Acadia and GMC’s goal is to make sure they are comfortable with the transition, said George Jones, the marketing manager for the Acadia.