But big sales growth will require a different path, one that appeals to people who might not normally be inclined to visit any of GM's showrooms. Jeep customers could be a good place to start, says Sam Fiorani, vice president of vehicle forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions, a Philadelphia-area research firm.
"Jeep is on such a growth path. GMC is the obvious one to go after them," he said. "A body-on-frame sport utility is a prime candidate" as an initial Jeep fighter.
A GMC SUV also could counter a future Ford Bronco SUV, believed to be on schedule for around 2020.
In an interview last week, Aldred said GMC is focused on Phase 1 of the growth plan, which includes a big increase in marketing and an effort to elevate the Denali high-end subbrand. It's working, he said. Denali has grown to account for a quarter of sales, from 20 percent just 18 months ago. Transaction prices and profitability have risen accordingly, he said.
New products would be part of Phase 2, starting around 2020, Aldred said. He wouldn't tip his hand as to what's in the works but agreed that Jeep is an inviting target.
"I do think GMC has got the brand equity and brand character in many respects to give customers a really good alternative to Jeep products," he said. GMC took a small step in that direction with the All Terrain version of the redesigned 2017 Acadia, which reached showrooms in the spring.