DEL MAR, Calif. -- None of the new GMC Canyon midsize pickups that began shipping to dealerships this month wears a Denali badge signifying the truck brand's high-end trim line.
GMC chief Duncan Aldred wants to change that.
"I'm pushing the engineers and designers to give me a credible Denali," Aldred told Automotive News during a Canyon media drive here last week.
Denali, introduced in the 1999 model year, has evolved into a powerful trim level for GMC in recent years. General Motors has sought to capitalize on its popularity by adding Denali models across GMC's lineup.
For years, it was used only on the Yukon SUV and Sierra full-size pickup, along with the phased-out Envoy SUV. GMC added a Denali model to the Acadia large crossover for the 2011 model year, followed by a version for the Terrain compact crossover for 2013.
Aldred says he wants Denali to account for 25 percent of the brand's entire mix, up from around 20 percent of the 450,901 GMCs sold in 2013.
"I'm going to sell quite a lot of Canyons, so that's kind of going to halt my progress" if the pickup doesn't eventually get a Denali version, Aldred said.
Denali models get cosmetic enhancements inside and out, such as a bolder grille and aluminum interior trim. They often get their own engines, such as a larger 6.2-liter V-8 in the redesigned '15 Yukon Denali. Aldred wouldn't tip his hand on what he'd like to see in a future Canyon version.
"I'm not just going to badge engineer it," he said. "It's got to be credible."