DETROIT -- General Motors wants to put more daylight between its Chevrolet and GMC brands.
In recent years, GM has let the lines blur between the two brands, says Mark Reuss, GM president of North America. That has weakened GMC's image as an upscale truck brand that commands a premium price.
"We need to make sure that we drive the differentiation in the product and the price to create that separation that we know we can on GMC and Chevrolet," Reuss told Automotive News last week. "I don't think we have the margin opportunity set up quite right with GMC."
Most GMC vehicles share their DNA with Chevrolet, but have different sheet metal and more features. GM long has positioned GMC as "professional grade," for tradesmen who want an upscale vehicle or buyers willing to pay more for big-truck comfort.
Through April, GMC sales rose 32 percent to 121,993, while Chevy truck sales rose 23 percent to 289,083.
Reuss says GM has used a "two-brand approach to trucks, to take on our competition that has one." But the strategy hasn't been executed well, he says.
"When you do that, and you don't do it right, and you've got price overlap and identical incentives and go-to-market strategies," Reuss said, "then you're going to get dilution" of the GMC brand.
Reuss says GMC has a strong brand-within-a-brand in Denali, its luxury line. He thinks Denali can be leveraged to move GMC up the premium ladder.
He said: "I think we can do premium Chevrolets, and take GMC and move it even further up."