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It’s confusing when automakers produce two brands that compete against one another. For example, Chevrolet is part of General Motors (GM), as is GMC, and both make full-size pickup trucks with similar or identical features. However, GM didn’t create the GMC truck line; it began as the Grabowsky Motor Vehicle Company.

Now, GMC runs as a sort of premium variant to Chevrolet, with the GMC Sierra mechanically identical to the Chevy Silverado in many ways. However, that means they also often share the same issues when problems arise. Here’s a look at the one GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickup truck model that the NHTSA told owners to “stop driving this vehicle immediately.”

A history of GMC trucks

The GMC story began in the early 1900s, and in 1902 “Max Grabowski sold his first truck to the American Garment Cleaning Company of Detroit.” Things happened fast for the Grabowski Motor Vehicle Company between the 1902 restructuring into the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, producing 75 trucks in 1904, and being overtaken by General Motors’ purchase of Rapid’s stock in 1908. By 1909, Rapid was entirely “under the corporate umbrella” of GM, which introduced the GMC nameplate a few years later. 

The U.S. Army used the GMC ¾-ton Model 16 as World War I battlefield ambulances in 1917, while it and other GMC models served as “searchlight trucks, cargo trucks, and troop carriers.” The peacetime between WWI and WWII saw GMC produce ½-ton pickups to 10-ton trucks and trailer chassis. 

In the prosperous years following World War II, GMC produced upscale models for personal use, including “Suburbans, vans, pickup campers, motor homes, and all types of off-road models.” Finally, GMC applied the Sierra nameplate to its “new, more aerodynamic generation” of full-size pickup trucks in 1987. 

Avoid the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500

The debut of the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickup truck by General Motors in Pontiac, Michigan
2014 GMC Sierra 1500 | Fabrizio Costantini/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The NHTSA lists 21 recalls for the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500. While the reasons for the recalls run the gamut, the most persistent problems include the areas of airbags, the electrical system, and seat belts. The most recent recall was announced in April 2021, related to the driver’s seat belt being faulty/broken.

However, the recall that caused the NHTSA to put out a notice claiming “the manufacturer has recommended that you stop driving this vehicle immediately” is 14V24600. This recall was issued in May 2014 for “Tie Rod Separation/Loss of Steering.” Due to a tie rod in the steering rack not being properly tightened, the 2014 Sierra was at risk of the rod becoming detached, resulting in a loss of steering control.

Is the 2023 GMC Sierra worth buying?

Car and Driver lists the starting MSRP for the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 at $37,445, calling it “everything you’d love about a Chevy Silverado, but with more attractive sheet metal.” Reviewers recommend the Elevation trim as the “one to buy” as it “occupies a middle ground in terms of price but comes with a desirable appearance package that looks cool.” According to GMC‘s online build and price tool, the Double Cab Standard Box configuration Sierra 1500 Elevation, equipped with two-wheel drive (2WD), a 310-hp turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 430 lb-ft of torque, and an eight-speed automatic transmission, starts at $53,795. 

Other powertrain options include a 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 engine with 383 lb-ft of torque and a 305-hp 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine with 495 lb-ft of torque. Either of these powerplant options comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission with Tow/Haul mode and “Powertrain Grade Braking.”

Car and Driver ranks the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 at No. 5 among other 2023 full-size pickup truck models. No. 1 goes to the Ram 1500, with the Ram 1500 TRX at No. 2. Ford follows with its popular F-150 at No. 3 and F-150 Raptor at No. 4. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 falls behind the Sierra at No. 6. While the Ram 1500 TRX and Ford F-150 Raptor carry premium price tags, the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 MSRPs start relatively close to the GMC Sierra 1500’s price. 

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