GMC preps upscale Canyon Denali, spy photos show

As with other Denali models, the honeycomb appearance of the camouflaged Canyon replaces the standard GMC face, a three-bar, horizontal layout. The photos show a black grille, however, unlike the chrome-laden snout featured on most Denali models. Photo credit: CHRIS DOANE AUTOMOTIVE

DETROIT -- GMC has been testing a Denali version of its Canyon midsize pickup, recent spy photographs indicate.

Photos show a Canyon with a revised, partially covered front fascia that features a wide, honeycomb grille outlined by chrome -- signature cues of the brand’s upscale Denali line.

 The photos show a black grille, however, unlike the chrome-laden snout featured on most Denali models.

GMC chief Duncan Aldred told Automotive News last year that a Denali version of the Canyon was in the works. He said he views the upscale truck as part of a broader effort to sell more Canyons and ultimately raise the profile of GMC.

GMC’s Denali models, which account for around 20 percent of the brand’s volume, also feature nicer interiors, though photos of the cabin weren’t available. It’s unclear whether a Denali Canyon would offer mechanical upgrades, but it’s a good bet the truck would come with a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine under the hood, which is now an option and the Canyon’s volume powerplant.

GMC is in the midst of one of its largest-ever marketing campaigns -- Aldred bumped up the brand’s marketing budget by 50 percent from last year. It’s part of his goal to lift GMC’s share of U.S. light vehicles to 4 percent by 2019 and 5 percent by 2024.

Through September, GMC’s U.S. market share was 3.1 percent, up from 2.9 percent a year earlier. U.S. deliveries have advanced 12 percent to 410,239 this year through September, aided by incremental sales of more than 22,000 Canyons. The truck went on sale in September 2014.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@autonews.com

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