Envoy to the Horde: GMC Trademarks a Name From Its Past
Someone at General Motors has been studying the company history books again. Fresh news earlier this year taught us the company is bringing back the storied Blazer nameplate, appending it to a FWD-based crossover in a move that disappointed some fans but will surely delight GM beancounters as they’ll probably sell every one they can make to a crossover-thirsty public, the majority of whom care not one whit about the old body-on-frame machine.
A trademark application uncovered by a GM Inside News forum poster suggests GM could be poised to bring back another well-known badge. This time, it is GMC’s turn to plumb their collective memory for a popular name. The lead image above gives you all the clues you need as to which one it may be.
GMC’s current portfolio overlaps like roofing shingles, at least from a pricing perspective. The little Terrain starts at $25k and runs into the low-30s, at which point the Acadia picks things up and carries it well north of $40,000 before the Yukon appears at the fifty-large mark. Denali versions of either rig plant their Monroneys squarely in the larger vehicle’s camp.
However, the Acadia is only theoretically available at the $29,000 price point. That SL model, complete with front-wheel drive and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, is harder to find on the ground than unopened Christmas presents on the 26th. Sure, this three-row rig (available in a grand total of two colors: white and silver) exists on paper, but dealers are much more likely to stock higher-margin SLE and SLT trims, not to mention the zooty Denali.
This leaves a two-row, Edge/Murano sized hole in the lineup. What to do? If you’re GMC, a smart play is to dust off the old Envoy nameplate, engineer some corporate front and rear styling that’ll fit on the new front-drive-based Blazer, and put it on sale ASAP. That’s your author’s bet as to where the Envoy nameplate will eventually land.
The old Envoy, you’ll recall, was a originally a variation on the truckish, S-10-based Jimmy of the late ‘90s. After binning that model around Y2K, a stand-alone Envoy appeared in 2002. Sharing much with the Chevy TrailBlazer, it was marketed as an upscale SUV, particularly in Denali trim.
Two variants showed up in the form of XL and XUV models. The XL was actually longer than the Yukon of the day, with a raised rear roof cleverly disguised by a roof rack. The XUV answered a question no one asked with its retractable rear roof that turned the cargo area into an open quasi-pickup bed. It delighted movers of grandfather clocks and tall houseplants but that was about all it did. Kudos to GMC for trying, though.
Rumours exist of a second body-on-frame SUV appearing out of the GM woodwork, as well, but that speculation does not seem to line up with what we know of The General’s product plans, nor does it align well with current consumer tastes. Having a lineup of three or four unibodied crossovers of varying capacity and capability topped with a BoF halo model seems to be the ticket, at least for now.
Krivka on Dec 27, 2018
GM has had a horrible last few years. They built the best large car they ever had with the Impala, the best compact with the Cruze and a decent mid with the Malibu but the end of the age of cars caught up with them. I drove an ATS while vacationing in California and it was a delight but with a terrible interior. Same with the excellent Camaro, with a more terrible interior. Was looking forward to the new Silverado and although I do like the exterior styling, for the most part, (the front end is terrible) and again, the interior is the absolute worse in ANY segment. Interior materials are sub-par in all of their vehicles and the switchgear is laughable as well. I just drove a new Buick Tour-x and found it a very nice car, but the interior materials let it down. Can't pull the trigger. My grandson has a 2015 Regal and the interior fit and finish are remarkable. The Silverado is going to bring GM down if not fixed immediately. To stave off a disaster, they need to put their new 2.7 into the Canyon and Colorado until the can turn around the Silverado. Barra needs to go or she needs to fire the entire engineering and design team responsible for EVERY SINGLE INTERIOR of their vehicles.
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