The subcompact crossover segment is one of the hottest markets happening right now. We know GMC has been eyeing a possible dive into subcompact crossover territory. Within GM, Chevy has the segment covered with the Trax and so does Buick with the Trax-based Encore. The Encore is the best-selling Buick, so of course, GMC has been looking at it.
Now from GM Authority comes the answer from GMC’s Canadian Regional Marketing Manager Mark Alger. He told them, “I’m going to give you a definitive no on that one. We want to position GMC as a premium brand, focus on our trucks, and capitalize on the AT4 name. We recently
announced that we’ll be opening up the AT4 variant to all of our products. This is where our focus is at right now.”
AT4 is an optional off-road appearance package GMC has wanted to expand onto its other products like the mid-size Canyon truck. It’s currently available on GMC Sierra and Sierra HD pickups, and Acadia SUVs. Obviously, GMC has profited handsomely from the AT4 package and adding it to other lines pushes the truck maker towards its “premium brand” goal more than offering a subcompact crossover. GMC has stated it wants the AT4 option to be available across the board by 2021.
GMC showed a crossover concept called “Granite” back in 2010, and we understand it had applied for a trademark on the word “Granite” a couple of times over the last few years. It is the lead image for this post. Internally the small crossover was approved in 2010 and then canceled two years later. It already manufacturers a slightly larger crossover with its Terrain model.
As GMC only manufactures trucks, it has never been a “full-line” brand. Because of this, it is not under the same pressure to cover all vehicle segments. GM has other divisions to take care of that. So, stepping into the sub-compact crossover market would definitely be a move downmarket.
Trax and Encore
GM covers the lower regions of the sub-compact crossover segment with the Chevy Trax, and the premium end with the Buick Encore. For 2020 Chevy will be debuting the all-new Chevy Trailblazer and Buick the Encore GX. These are slightly larger crossovers than the current Encore and Trax, so GM is already starting to crowd the crossover segment with lots of different sub-genres. It would seem that adding yet, another crossover to the mix really overcrowds things.
That temptation to allow all of its brands to badge engineer vehicles to cover hot segments has always been a problem, and more often than not the road map it follows. This divide-and-conquer mentality really blurs what each of the brands represents to the consumer, and ends up creating competition between each GM division.
So, rather than competing with itself and blurring the brands further, GM is getting smarter. GMC is in a unique position to offer something almost no other brand can: a premium off-road option across all of its lines.
What we’d like to see is a Raptor-like or Ram Rebel TRX concept-like version of the Sierra. That would definitely be an upscale model, and one we’d embrace.