Envoy to the Horde: GMC Trademarks a Name From Its Past

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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.

[Images: GMC]

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  • Krivka 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.

  • Orioncanam Orioncanam on Dec 29, 2018

    Ah, the old Envoy XUV. The perfect vehicle for my pet giraffe, if I had a pet giraffe.

  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.
  • Cha65689852 To drive a car, you need human intelligence, not artificial intelligence.Unfortunately, these days even human brains are turning into mush thanks to addiction to smartphones and social media.
  • Mike1041 A nasty uncomfortable little car. Test drove in 2019 in a search for a single car that would appease two drivers. The compromise was not much better but at least it had decent rear vision and cargo capacity. The 2019 Honda HRV simply was too unforgiving and we ditched after 4 years. Enter the 23 HRV and we have a comfy size.
  • SCE to AUX I wonder who really cares about this. "Slave labor" is a useful term for the agendas of both right and left."UAW Wants Auto Industry to Stop Using Slave Labor"... but what will the UAW actually do if nothing changes?With unrelenting downward pressure on costs in every industry - coupled with labor shortages - expect to see more of this.Perhaps it's my fault when I choose the $259 cell phone over the $299 model, or the cheaper parts at RockAuto, or the lower-priced jacket at the store.Do I care about an ethical supply chain? Not really, I just want the product to work - and that's how most consumers are. We'd rather not know.Perhaps the 1990s notion of conflict-free, blood-free, ethically-sourced diamonds will find its way into the auto industry. That would be a good thing.