GMC is the oddball company all others are becoming
A company that produces no cars? What a weird thing! Oh wait... isn't that where every car company is going?
GMC for years was the sole "car company" to only produce trucks. They were once the oddball company with a near one-hundred year history of body on frame trucks and SUVs before producing their first unibody vehicle in 2007 with the Acadia. Now it seems everyone is copying their anti-sedan ethos.
The tradition of TRUCKS doesn't appear to be changing much as we're going to see a GMC Hummer EV soon. The naysayers will point out that 'GMC has never been a car company'. While this is true, there are a couple of little known technicalities I wasn't fully aware existed.
A little history and a little known secret.
First known as 'GMC Truck' in 1912 after two other truck manufacturers were gobbled up by the fledgling GM, the company focused on trucks and fleet sales. After helping win two World Wars, the company began producing rebadged Chevrolets with minor trim and drivetrain options for the bourgeois starting in the 1960s.
The GMC version of a Chevrolet C10. Image via Bull-Doser / Public domain
These 'upmarket' Chevys had bigger engines and nicer trim packages. The GMC brand was then paired up with its Buick brethren to sell all the mid-level spec GM products in one place. At no time did it produce any sedans, coupes, convertibles, or other "cars" during its lifetime.
The sole bastard child from GMC. This is a 1992-95 GMC Chevette from the Argentinian market. Image via Diego HC / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
Or did it? They did produce their own version of the Chevrolet El Camino with their rebadged GMC Sprint and Caballero. It was exactly what you'd imagine and ran for a total of seventeen years. They also produced the GMC Chevette in Brazil for the Argentinian market. This car lasted a mere four years and as far as I can see it was the ONLY sedan ever to be badged as a GMC.
A first generation GMC Sprint from 1971-72. Image via JOHN LLOYD from Concrete, Washington, United States / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
An exercise in time travel.
Imagine yourself in the year 2000. You are coming off the heels of Y2K not killing everyone, airline travel allows you to wave off family members at the gate, and social media consists of stapling flyers with phone number tags to telephone poles. At this time in history GMC was still seven long years away from the introduction of the unibody Acadia.
The GMC lineup was shocking in contrast to the rest of the automotive universe in 2000. The Camry and Accord are the kings of the day. Sedans were the bread and butter being doled out at dealerships across the country. How odd of a company GMC must have looked - and it did!
Look no further than this beauty for your next RADwood ride. Peak 1990s GMC right here with this pink 1995 GMC Jimmy (aka Chevrolet Blazer). Image via IFCAR / Public domain.
Flash forward twenty years. The Camry and Accord are still stalwart titans, but everyone is killing their sedans. The great sedan massacre is well underway. GM is quietly slaughtering their low riding vehicles, including some haloed names. Ford too is discontinuing all their cars for a lineup that will see the Mustang and GT remain. Dodge remains a holdout as their recipe to combat wandering automotive tastes is to add more power.
Some companies saw the future. Names we never thought would produce a 'truck' are seeking profit while diluting the familiar DNA. Lamborghini produced their first SUV in 1986, only to shelf it until 2017 with the Urus. Even Ferrari, the penultimate sports car manufacturer, is coming out with an SUV next year?! Look no further than BMW too - they started with the X5 and now they've got the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 (with severals versions contained within the ranks).
We can complain all day long about the death of the traditional car. We're living in a time where everything automotive is being questioned - the propulsion, method of sales, useability, shape, etc. etc. It turns out GMC had the formula right all along.