If you don’t remember the GMC Granite concept from the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, you’re excused. At the time, it was assumed to have been a Saturn concept that was turned into a GMC concept because GM killed the Saturn brand that year. But there was no expectation the Granite would lead to a production GMC small SUV. The market was way different from its makeup in 2022. So guess what? Now it looks like the Granite will become a reality.
It won’t look much like the concept, though we always liked it. Some think it looks like a Nissan Cube or something from Hyundai. But it was a clean, compelling, yet bold compact crossover that, at least in front, had that distinctive GMC look. And GMC still uses that grille as its brand identifier.
GM just applied for the “GMC Granite” trademark according to Carbuzz. The application lists it as an “on-road passenger vehicle.” Though we know nothing else, it is easy to determine what the Granite will probably be.
GM does and always has spread out its platforms in as many ways as possible. Both Chevrolet and Buick will share the small Ultium EV platform for their 2024 small SUVs. For Buick, it will be called the Electra with an alphanumeric after it. That’s because there will be more than one Electra model.
Chevrolet will use the same platform and body structure for its 2024 Equinox compact crossover. Neither it nor the Buick Electra will borrow anything from Chevy’s current Bolt EV platform.
So that’s two brands GM can use to amortize compact crossover development and parts. But there is also Cadillac and GMC. A small SUV shouldn’t be in the cards for Cadillac. It’s going in the opposite direction with its Lyriq and Celestiq EVs.
But GMC has nothing to compete in this segment. So a more rugged version of the Equinox/Electra would give it a model for this hot segment. And it has all of the bases covered with the Hummer EV at the high end, the electric Sierra in the middle, and the Granite as an entry-level EV.
Yes, it is not your typical GMC truck, but these aren’t typical times. Each manufacturer must be looking at how it will attack the coming EV wave. GM is choosing a compact crossover to help GMC wind its way through the EV morass. With Saturn, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile in car heaven, GM is down to four divisions. It needs as many ways as possible to spread the pain of development around.
And why not? Chevrolet and GMC have always shared models. Can you even tell the difference between a Silverado and a Sierra 1500? They’re essentially the same, though over the years GM has tried to make them more unique. Until the 2000s, they were virtually identical except for the grilles.
With the price of equivalent EVs being much higher than gas-powered counterparts, most automakers need a cheap EV to get people into the tent. If you’re a hardcore GMC fan, this probably doesn’t fit your perception of GMC. But in case you haven’t noticed, the truck and SUV market is changing really fast.