General Motors' GMC division focuses on building commercial vehicles such as pickup trucks, SUVs and large vans. It was founded in as the General Motors Truck Company as a result of the merger of Rapid Motor Vehicle Company and Reliance Motor Car Company.
GMC built light- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles over the next three decades. When World War II broke out, it provided the United States army with several hundred thousand examples of the CCKW...
truck and the amphibious DUKW.
From the 1950s to the 1990s, GMC essentially sold re-badged Chevrolet pickup trucks that often boasted model-specific grilles, headlights, bumpers and nameplates. The Chevrolet Blazer became the GMC Jimmy, the El Camino was rechristened the Caballero and the S-10 was known as the Sonoma. GMCs were often distributed alongside Buick and Pontiac passenger cars and sold for a premium over their Chevrolet-badged counterpart in spite of being nearly identical under the skin.
In the early 1990s, General Motors tried to give GMC a sportier image by launching the Syclone and the Typhoon, a pair of performance-focused vehicles based on the Sonoma and the Jimmy, respectively. Produced in limited numbers, both trucks were powered by a turbocharged 4.3-liter Mitsubishi-sourced V6 engine that sent 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission.
The foray into sports truck territory was short-lived and GMC spent the rest of the 1990s selling rebadged Chevrolets such as the K-Series pickup, the Yukon and the Suburban packed with more standard equipment and a longer list of options.
In 2001, GMC created a niche in the lucrative pickup segment when it launched the Sierra C3. Called Sierra Denali the following year, the pickup oddered the same amount of luxury features found in large Cadillac sedans in a versatile package that featured a 6.0-liter V8 and a Delphi-designed four-wheel steering system called Quadrasteer. The Denali trim package was exclusively available on the Sierra and a comparable package was not offered with the Silverado.
GMC got its first brand-specific model in 2004. Called Envoy XUV, it was based on the regular Envoy but featured an innovative MidGate system similar to the one found in the Chevrolet Avalanche and a sliding roof that let the owner transform the truck from a SUV to a pickup in mere minutes. Although well-packaged, the Envoy was not as popular as General Motors had hoped.
The 2007 Acadia earned the dubious honor of being GMC's first unibody vehicle. It was quickly followed by the smaller Terrain, a mid-size crossover that rode on the same Theta platform as the Chevrolet Equinox. The two vehicles wore distinctively different designs and shared no sheet metal, helping buyers differentiate the two.
GMC's current lineup ranges from the Terrain to the luxurious Yukon XL Denali but its best-selling model is the Sierra pickup. GMCs now feature bespoke sheet metal on both ends that sets them apart from their less expensive bowtie-badged counterparts.