GMC might be the lowest profile brand in General Motors’ portfolio, but so far it is the healthiest among the carmaker’s marques. Despite having a marketing budget that is just a fraction of that of Chevrolet, GMC has managed to outpace GM’s bread-and-butter brand.
GMC has overturned the perception that it is just a collection of rebadged Chevrolets and has managed to create an image as a premium truck brand. In fact, its lineup has posted the biggest surge in in transaction prices of any GM brand. Its high-end Denali trim level has gained a loyal following among affluent, do-it-yourself customers and even outsold Lincoln, Jaguar and Land Rover.
Its redesigned 2015 Yukon XL Denali has been a hot-seller among customers who do not mind its $70,000 price. Because of that image, Kelley Blue Book named GMC in April as the "most refined" brand among non-luxury marques.
GMC created a clear brand identity via its "Professional Grade" marketing campaign that has been in place since 1998. On the other hand, its sister brands have been changing their marketing themes. Roger McCormack, GMC marketing director, remarked that they consider GMC as “a niche brand for a very specific consumer mindset."
He, however, noted that GMC is a “450,000-unit niche of profitable truck business." GMC has been known to improving GM's bottom line by selling higher-priced trucks built underpinned by the same platforms as Chevrolets.
John Wolkonowicz, an independent analyst and automotive historian, told Automotive News that until 1970s, GMC’s higher prices were warranted by better powertrains and features not available in Chevrolet models. He remarked that the distinction became fuzzy from 1970s when GMC became a way for GM's non-Chevrolet dealers to sell trucks.