GMC: Moving From the Middle?

GMC’s an interesting brand. Free of cars from the outset (Sprint/Caballero notwithstanding), General Motors’ truck brand seems well-positioned to turn America’s unquenchable thirst for trucks and utility vehicles into big, big bucks.

For the most part, it has, yet glaring shafts of white space remain in the brand’s lineup. Time for a little rearranging?

Automotive News‘ product pipeline provides a potential window into an automaker’s future, condensing down-low scuttlebutt, corporate whispers, and all other info into a likely product plan. The outlet recently focused on GM, and one thing stood out.

Does everyone recall the Acadia? The former full-size(ish) crossover that went midsize, even as the nameplates that once kept it company remained on the big side of the spectrum? Looks like it’s not staying put.

Refreshed in a questionable manner (in this writer’s opinion) for 2020, the downsized Acadia first came onto the scene in the middle of 2016, positioned above the soon-to-be-downsized (for MY2018) Terrain. GM soon added the Chevrolet Blazer as a two-row midsize option. While the two CUVs share a platform, the Acadia offers seating for up to 7.

That left the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse as the topmost rung of the GM crossover ladder. However, AN claims the Acadia’s trajectory will be boomerang-like, with the model returning to its former home in the near future.

Expected to see a redesign in 2024, the Acadia “will move to a larger platform to become the size of a Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave, as it was in the previous generation,” the outlet wrote. At the bottom of GMC’s product range, a long-awaited subcompact crossover (Granite?) is believed to arrive in about a year.

While the move would stand to make GMC more money on both the high and low end of the lineup, helped along by a new Yukon for ’21, it would also leave the brand with a sizable gap in the middle. Is that space GMC needs to occupy? Depends who you ask.

The Acadia reached new sales heights in 2017, selling more than 111,000 units in the U.S., though the subsequent two years saw sales fall to basically what they were in the two years preceding the model’s size change. The larger Traverse has only seen its fortunes rise over the past half-decade, with the model posting more than 147,000 sales last year. Maybe the Acadia name would be better served affixed to a larger vehicle.

Someone prone to conspiracy theories would suggest that the hollowing out of the middle of GMC’s lineup is all about creating space for an off-road-focused SUV, but there’s no evidence that this is the case. For all we know, the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler will remain the only two contenders in the ring.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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