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Wards Auto News

February 4, 2015



Article Quotes:

DETROIT – Duncan Aldred, U.S. vice president, Buick-GMC, confesses the iconic General Motors truck brand soon will add at least one more offering to its lineup, but says there are no plans to grow the profitable unit much beyond what it offers today.

“To grow to 5% (industry) market share, we will need one or two additions to the portfolio,” Aldred tells WardsAuto during a recent interview here. Aldred, who wants to expand the brand’s U.S. market penetration from 3% to 4% within five years and to 5% within 10 years, stops short of sharing details on the next GMC product but suggests something fresh could emerge as little as 12 months away.

“When you look at the portfolio, you start to think, ‘What niches are there?’ You could argue a third (CUV) between the Acadia and Terrain. But there is not much space,” he says.

One key consideration for future GMC products, oddly enough, hinges on Buick. The shared sales channel means both brands vie for showroom space and marketing dollars, neither of which are limitless – for GM or its dealers.

That means the next new product from GMC may not be so new after all. WardsAuto forecasts a redesigned Acadia in 2016 as a ’17 model, but as a slightly smaller edition of the 7-passenger CUV. The new Acadia would realign the Buick-GMC showroom to include four sizes of CUVs, with the large Buick Enclave at the top, followed by the shrunken Acadia, the midsize GMC Terrain and the compact Buick Encore.

“Too much product sometimes can be as bad as too little,” Aldred says of the showroom dilemma. “I think GMC has got it about right.”

“We are looking at portfolio options,” Aldred says, adding that whatever the next product is, it will not be half-baked. “It’s a truck brand and it’s a premium-truck brand. We’re not going to move away from that.”

The latest addition to the GMC portfolio has been a resounding success, Aldred claims. The Canyon midsize pickup and its Chevrolet Colorado platform mate cannot meet brisk demand.

“The momentum is phenomenal and we’re trying to think of creative ways to increase line rate, capacity, it’s a good problem to have,” he says.

Aldred expects a big year for GMC in 2015. The brand is coming off a year where it sold 501,853 vehicles, up 11.3% vs. year-ago. Average transaction prices ballooned 10%, and 21% of sales were highly profitable top-of-line Denali models.

Brand-building will be the primary driver, supported by greater advertising and marketing budgets. Aldred declines to say how much, but estimates spending will double. A key piece will be a television campaign the brand is wrapping up to air in the first quarter.

“It will really position GMC as a premium-truck brand,” Aldred says.
 

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That means the next new product from GMC may not be so new after all. WardsAuto forecasts a redesigned Acadia in 2016 as a ’17 model, but as a slightly smaller edition of the 7-passenger CUV. The new Acadia would realign the Buick-GMC showroom to include four sizes of CUVs, with the large Buick Enclave at the top, followed by the shrunken Acadia, the midsize GMC Terrain and the compact Buick Encore.

“Too much product sometimes can be as bad as too little,” Aldred says of the showroom dilemma. “I think GMC has got it about right.”
Amen. You know what - someone at GM really gets it.

So simple, but potentially so effective. Four different sized "passenger trucks" in the same showroom. Enclave > Acadia > Terrain > Encore. Just about perfect. As we read a few weeks ago, there really is no need for a GMC version of the Encore.

GMC is on a roll...both in product and profit ("21% of sales were highly profitable top-of-line Denali models"). Incredible.

Now what could that mystery vehicle coming in about a year be...Jeep Wrangler competitor perhaps? Is it time for a little "fun" at your local GMC dealership? Let's hope so.
 

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Unfortunately this will mean paralysis by analysis, which is GM's typical M.O.
 

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How GM poured money into loser Cadillac while they starved Buick and GMC will be studied by future generations...
Yet Buick is doing good and GMC is doing great. Why would they need tons of money dumped in them? Cadillac needs the cash, and it will help the other brands via trickle down effect.
 

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Amen. You know what - someone at GM really gets it.

So simple, but potentially so effective. Four different sized "passenger trucks" in the same showroom. Enclave > Acadia > Terrain > Encore. Just about perfect. As we read a few weeks ago, there really is no need for a GMC version of the Encore.

GMC is on a roll...both in product and profit ("21% of sales were highly profitable top-of-line Denali models"). Incredible.

Now what could that mystery vehicle coming in about a year be...Jeep Wrangler competitor perhaps? Is it time for a little "fun" at your local GMC dealership? Let's hope so.
Agreed - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Yes, there would be a couple of product types I'd like to see as a car enthusiast, but as a business case I'd say don't touch it.
 

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So we're going to NOT grow the hell out of what is probably GM's strongest brand? Makes perfect sense to me.... I mean, look at the HUGE failure FCA has on their hands now that they're finally starting to elevate Jeep to the brand it should've always been. (Much sarcasm implied)

I guess I can get behind this a little bit... I mean, as long as GMC has a full line up and is making money. I understand that Buick and GMC are essentially considered one brand at 'the tubes'. But I can't help but think that this is an opportunity squandered.

Not to mention, I'm kind of tired of the "premium brand" talk... I mean, I'm glad GM is doing this (to give GMC true purpose and better differentiate it from Chevrolet). BUT, they need to be careful because 1) Chevrolet is sniffing in premium brand territory with the High Country and fully loaded SUVs. And then there's Escalade. Which could, and should eventually IMO, become it's own Range Rover-style brand.
 

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Amen. You know what - someone at GM really gets it.

So simple, but potentially so effective. Four different sized "passenger trucks" in the same showroom. Enclave > Acadia > Terrain > Encore. Just about perfect. As we read a few weeks ago, there really is no need for a GMC version of the Encore.

GMC is on a roll...both in product and profit ("21% of sales were highly profitable top-of-line Denali models"). Incredible.

Now what could that mystery vehicle coming in about a year be...Jeep Wrangler competitor perhaps? Is it time for a little "fun" at your local GMC dealership? Let's hope so.
Messing with Acadia is a mistake.
 

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So we're going to NOT grow the hell out of what is probably GM's strongest brand? Makes perfect sense to me.... I mean, look at the HUGE failure FCA has on their hands now that they're finally starting to elevate Jeep to the brand it should've always been. (Much sarcasm implied)

I guess I can get behind this a little bit... I mean, as long as GMC has a full line up and is making money. I understand that Buick and GMC are essentially considered one brand at 'the tubes'. But I can't help but think that this is an opportunity squandered.

Not to mention, I'm kind of tired of the "premium brand" talk... I mean, I'm glad GM is doing this (to give GMC true purpose and better differentiate it from Chevrolet). BUT, they need to be careful because 1) Chevrolet is sniffing in premium brand territory with the High Country and fully loaded SUVs. And then there's Escalade. Which could, and should eventually IMO, become it's own Range Rover-style brand.
GM wants to grow all brands and that means not offering every vehicle under every brand. Each brand should have a core mission and there should be SOME overlap, but each brand shouldn't be a carbon copy of the others. FCA isn't exactly bristling with SUV type vehicles outside of Jeep. GM is.
 

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Messing with Acadia is a mistake.
I had a 2009 Acadia until a week ago when it was replaced with a new vehicle. While it served our needs well, it was a slug in every sense of the word.

GM really needs to re-work the Acadia from the ground up. Rumor has it that the new generation will be rear wheel drive and have less bulk. Perhaps they will chase the BMW X5 and Mercedes ML Series.
 

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I think there's definitely room for an Envision and Terrain. I feel like they appeal to 2 different markets. I wouldn't mind seeing the next gen Terrain more off road oriented like the Cherokee
i agree...but I am beginning to think they are not going to sell the Envision here. i traded my Enclave for a Terrain last summer wanting something smaller. I just don't care for it...I miss the more comfortable, more quiet Buick. if no Envision then I will have to go another company for a mid-size CUV.
 

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I am pretty much convinced that GMC is going the wrong direction. They have the complete potential to turn GMC into a more reliable version of a luxuary off-road SUV brand like Range Rover. All of the GMC offerings are already offered by other GM brands. They are getting redundant with GMC.

I would love to see some luxuary off-road offerings from GMC.
 

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I think what GMC needs is a REAL RWD based full framed SUV smaller then the Yukon that is NOT shared with Chevrolet! This along with a Jeep Wrangler competitor using perhaps a shortened version of the same frame again not shared with Chevy would make GMC more unique as a brand! They and Buick have the Crossover thing covered so GMC needs more REAL TRUCK Variants! This new premium focused Envoy to compete with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and large Land/Range Rover models would fill the bill nicely! And a more modern HUMMER like Wrangler Competitor would give GMC the off road cred it could use as well!
 

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Premium truck brand. I thought GMC didn't want to be known as a truck brand. How long has it been since "truck" was dropped from their name? 10 years? I like the GMC Buick dealer consolidation. It works better than the Canadian system of Chev/Buick/GMC and sometimes Cadillac. Too much overlap.
 

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I am curious about the Acadia's new direction and future.

Business case, I can see the Acadia shrinks to make room against the Encore, but it, the Acadia, sells so well as-is. What other changes are being made to it? When can we see this?

This does not seem to bode well for the Envision to make it to the US. There would be product overlap then, as suggested.

I am excited to see the future of the GMC brand, especially so close-knit to Buick. But, if GMC and Buick are to remain side-by-side in showroom as essentially one brand, and GMC is a "premium" truck brand, why brand any cross-over or suv a Buick. Make Buick's cars and GMC the S/Cuv's, (I know its because Buick is too profitable just wanted to put it out there). That would open the door to a Regal wagon and All-road.
 
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