VAIL, Colo. — GMC used to just be General Motors' truck brand. But the automaker has groomed it into a purveyor of high-profit, loyalty-driving subbrands, with the hugely successful Denali line and an expanded collection of AT4 off-roaders poised to soon make up about half of GMC's sales.
The brand also might resurrect the Hummer name for what could be a family of electric pickups and SUVs starting next year.
"It's almost the next generation of what accessories was to cars, now these subbrands," said Steve Hill, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, service and marketing. "If you go up to someone who drives a Yukon, they don't say, 'I drive a Yukon.' They say, 'I drive a Denali.' That's how important it is. It's part of who they are."
The massively profitable Denali line made up 30 percent of GMC sales last year, and GMC is rolling out AT4 across its full lineup this year. The brand unveiled AT4 versions of the Yukon SUV and Canyon pickup last week, along with the redesigned Yukon and Yukon XL.
The subbrands lead to greater personalization and higher profits for GM and its dealers. Analysts predict GMC will take a similar approach with Hummer as it builds an electric pickup in late 2021 and an electric SUV shortly thereafter.