GMC Knows to Leave Well Enough Alone, Has No Plan to Fight Jeep Wrangler With a Dedicated Off-Roader

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
gmc knows to leave well enough alone has no plan to fight jeep wrangler with a

News that suggests General Motors no-car GMC division is closing in on the launch of its own subcompact crossover to accompany the compact GMC Terrain coincided with revelations from GMC’s division manager regarding the future of a Jeep Wrangler rival from GMC.

There won’t be a Jeep Wrangler rival from GMC.

Ford’s Bronco is yet two years away, and the extent to which the next Bronco will directly challenge the Jeep Wrangler remains a complete unknown. Rumors differ.

But according to the global head of Buick and GMC Duncan Aldred, GMC has no intention of tangling with the Wrangler in the convertible, off-road, body-on-frame sector over which the Wrangler exerts total control.

“I don’t think it’s worth trying to take on Wrangler,” GMC’s Aldred tells Automotive News.

On the one hand, it’s not surprising that plans for the all-light-truck GMC brand to fight the Jeep Wrangler don’t exist. There’s been no concept from GMC since 2001’s Terracross or 2005’s Graphyte that hints at a desire to enter that space. In fact, the last non-pickup concept from GMC was 2010’s Granite, a mini MPV.

However, in a world gone crazy for utility vehicles, a U.S.-centric brand that majors on body-on-frame construction seems like the ideal fit for a rugged off-roader that could eat into the Wrangler’s slice of the SUV pie.

The problem? Other automakers try, and other automakers fail. The Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser were admittedly lacking the removable top portion of the equation, but both faded away as the Wrangler gained strength. 2015, you’ll recall, was the Wrangler’s best year of U.S. sales ever, and sales have only tailed off since because the next-gen Wrangler is quickly approaching. Jeep is still managing to produce nearly 17,000 U.S. Wrangler sales per month.

Toyota never managed to average more than 5,000 monthly FJ Cruiser sales. Nissan never averaged more than 7,400 Xterra sales per month. Annual FJ Cruiser sales plunged 79 percent from its 2006 peak in 2009. Xterra volume slid in 12 of 16 years.

You can see why GMC doesn’t think it’s even worth trying. GMC is not so full of hubris that it believes it can succeed where others have routinely failed. But in less direct opposition to the Wrangler, could GMC latch onto the next Chevrolet Blazer for a little 4Runner fighting fun?

In the meantime, the off-road answer at GMC resides in the Sierra lineup with the All Terrain X, currently a $3,405 package on the Sierra 1500.

[Images: General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Aug 28, 2017

    Jimmy? Jimmy?? Jimmy!!!!

  • Sdlizard71 Sdlizard71 on Aug 29, 2017

    I've been driving Jeeps for years, but this I know... If a company from China has success in purchasing Jeep, I will never buy a new Jeep...ever again. Jeep is American. Made in America. Period.

    • Kenn Kenn on Sep 04, 2017

      Many people make the same stalwart claim - then show their appreciation for low price above-all-else at Walmart. For every one of you, I believe there are many more who will buy a product based on the product itself and its inherent value, not patriotic flag waving (at least, I hope so).

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.