By on June 22, 2019

Unlike Chevrolet, GMC doesn’t just stop off on the way home from the store to introduce a new vehicle. It doesn’t get up in the middle of the night for a glass of water and create a new crossover before turning in.

The new Blazer and upcoming sort-of subcompact Trailblazer have no equals in GMC’s restrained lineup. Nor does the Traverse. Or Trax. GMC puts its pants on one leg at a time, but the rumor mill won’t stop churning out discourse on a potential new entry from America’s truck brand. And one name keeps coming up.

Jimmy.

Not to be confused with Suzuki’s Jimny, a tiny overseas SUV loved by a subset of auto journalists who argue passionately in its defense and can’t be counted on to purchase one in the event the model comes stateside, the GMC Jimmy’s heritage is no mystery to those who’ve prowled this continent over the past several decades. A fond childhood memory is my elderly neighbor’s ’78 model, painted a fetching blue and white with the best cans of Tremclad. Brush strokes came standard; its white-rimmed, grille-mounted spare tire menaced wayward pedestrians.

Based on his expertise in nuclear fission and disappearance during WW2, neighbors claimed the Jimmy’s owner once worked on the Manhattan Project.

In the wake of General Motors’ latest trademark application for the Granite nameplate, a moniker expected to arrive in the form of a subcompact unibody crossover (think Buick Encore GX or Chevy Trailblazer), the potential for a new Jimmy is less certain. Same goes for the Envoy nameplate GM keeps in its fold, yet the rumor mill still churns.

As Car and Driver speculates, a Jimmy could appear as a 2022 model to do battle against Ford’s Bronco and Jeep’s ever-popular Wrangler line. Likely based on the midsize, body-on-frame platform underpinning the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins ⁠— or the architecture’s successor — a reborn Jimmy would stay true to the model’s roots, unlike the name appearing in Chevy’s lineup. Recent spy shots of GM benchmarking two Wrangler Unlimiteds at the company’s Milford Proving Ground and a potential billion-dollar upgrade to GM’s Wentzville assembly plant (home to the Colorado/Canyon) provide further grist for the mill.

Should GMC go against what brand boss Duncan Aldred said in 2017 and build a BOF Jimmy, what ingredients would you want to see⁠ — and what ingredients would be essential for its success? A two-door version? A removable hardtop? A plug-in hybrid or electric variant? And could GMC pull it off without a contemporaneous Chevy sibling that would surely suck sales from the Blazer and Traverse, not to mention the Acadia, while overcrowding the bowtie brand’s lineup?

[Image: General Motors]

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39 Comments on “QOTD: Is It a Good Idea to Invite Jimmy to the Party?...”


  • avatar
    Fred

    GMC SUVs have to compete against Buick and Cadillac SUVs where they occupy the same lot. That alone would give me pause if I had a seat on product.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      GMC needs to re-embrace the “Professional Grade” tag line. Instead of flogging basic crossovers that have Buick and Cadillac copies in the same showroom, GMC needs to become more utilitarian, more off-road. There is a huge artificial constraint on the designers when they have to squeeze so many crossovers – built off the same platforms – into the same showroom. So you have to shrink the Acadia so its not a direct competitor to the Enclave,then make the Cadillac XT6 fit neatly in between, the Envision has to be a little bit smaller than a Terrain but the XT5 has to be slightly bigger. Look up the dimension and you’ll see that they went to great lengths (no pun intended) to make each one a slightly different size.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      “A report from JP Morgan says that GMC’s Denali sub-brand generates $6.4 billion in revenue. That’s more than Land Rover and close to Audi. And we’re just talking about a trim line, not the entire GMC lineup.” Autoline

  • avatar
    Rocket

    Given the lackluster effort GM put into their most important product — their full size pickups, it’s difficult to be optimistic in any way. Even if greenlighted, does anybody really believe the product won’t fall short of expectations due to Mary’s constant belt-tightening measures?

    As for the Envoy, I think the nameplate will return, but it will most likely adorn the new Buick mid-size crossover rather than a future GMC model. Picture a re-bodied Blazer and you’re there.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I have to agree with that.

      GM’s twins do not represent the best value for the money when compared against the other four truck makers. Maybe that’s why GM has to put all that discount money on the hood in order to move all that metal each year.

      RAM is the surprising value leader in this group with Ford leading the way in innovative propulsion (engine and transmission combos) and lighter-weight structural materials. And who can argue about a 5.7L HEMI? Guts, balls and brawn, all in one truck.

      But for many people the Tundra and the Titan represent more value and content for the same money when compared to Ford, RAM and GM’s twins.

      As an example, compare what you get for the hallowed $45K discounted net cost of a top-three pickup truck against the same $45K in a Tundra or a Titan.

      Side steps, tow hitches, trailer brakes, nice hunky V8, power driver seat, etc all included with the Tundra and Titan, still optional on many of the other three.

      Maybe this is why more WORKING people are looking at Tundra and Titan each day. Maybe they’re looking at value for the money in pickup trucks, not a social statement, or the latest and the greatest whoop-tee-doo.

      My best friend is still looking at 2019 trucks, and I have been going with him (since his wife hates car shopping). So I’m up-to-date on the 2019 offerings, having seen, been in, and checked out all of them.

      $70grand for a Denali? $65grand for a HighCountry?

      You gotta be kiddin’.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Not sure how it is in West Texas, but around here non-XD Titans are discounted to the point they barely cost more than a mid-trim Altima and a full-whack XD 5.0CTD 4WD is less than a base Big 3 HD offering.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ajla, that’s true here too. Hence the greater value for the money.

          See for yourself at

          https://www.nissanoflascruces.com

          the main dealer AND distributor for this (my) region.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            My local CDJR dealer is offering a flat $20K off all their high trim 2019 Ram 1500s (not the Classics).

            https://www.bosakmotor.com/new-vehicles/all-new-ram-1500/

            Even if $5K of that is fluff like “Must trade in a 2003-04 competitor vehicle with exactly 99,000 miles”, you’re still getting a Limited in the low $50s or a Rebel in the mid $40s. For that price I wouldn’t be shopping anywhere else.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You’re not kidding…

            “New 2019 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab 4×4 PRO-4X Auto Final Price After Rebates $34,490”

            Good deal :)

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            jack4x, here’s an idea of what CDJR pricing is like in MY region:

            https://www.vivadodgeramfiat.com/ in Las Cruces, NM,

            and

            https://www.perkinsmotors.com

            in Colorado Springs, CO. This dealership is FANTASTIC! My best friend bought his 2012 Grand Cherokee there in Oct 2011, sight unseen, and had them trailer it down to NM so he wouldn’t have to drive up there to take delivery.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Of course the domestic trucks are a better value discounted compared to Tundra, the Toyota is older than dirt. Tundra can barely sell over 100,000 units compare to F-150 at 950,000. Only people buying Tundra, Titan, and the likes of Rigdeline are anti-domestic truck types.

            The domestic auto companies can offer +10,000 off MSRP on their whole line up because of those profits of trucks and SUVs. Something the Japanese cannot do.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Of course the domestic trucks are a better value discounted compared to Tundra, the Toyota is older than dirt. Tundra can barely sell over 100,000 units compare to F-150 at 950,000. Only people buying Tundra, Titan, and the likes of Rigdeline are anti-domestic truck types.

        The domestic auto companies can offer +10,000 off MSRP on their whole line up because of those profits of trucks and SUVs. Something the Japanese cannot do.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          NormSV650, what you wrote is indeed true. The people buying Tundra, Titan and Ridgeline are anti-domestic truck.

          And maybe they have their reasons for being the way they are. Maybe they had bad experiences when they owned the domestic trucks and have sworn them off, vowing never to go back there again.

          Or, they may believe that they should not reward the domestic manufacturers for their past sins by buying another one of their trucks.

          Regardless, Tundra, Titan and Ridgeline attract a niche buyer, and that’s OK with those manufacturers.

          I’m a convert. I have owned Detroit 3 trucks all my life until I bought my first Tundra in 2011. And I’m never going back, although with RAM now being foreign-owned, and putting out a fine truck with the best ride, handling and interiors, it may be a tough call to never go back again.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            Two of my neighbors have both purchased a Tundra, one about a month ago and the other 2 years ago.

            One works for Charles Schwab and the other is VP of something at Liberty Mutual. Neither pulls a trailer, one hunts every now and again. Near as I can tell they both enjoy driving a truck that gets 12 mpg around town to their office jobs.

            One was a BMW/Acura fella and now is a truck guy…

            The other who has had his Tundra drove a Chevy Trailbalzer 03′ to 205k and finally dumped it for the Tundra. His GM product was good to him near as I can tell.

            The neighbors across from these two both have 18 or 19 Ram 1500’s both pull a large(ish) camper. In between all this is the Penske executive with a GMC Sierra w/ a 6” lift and loud pipes that I installed so I approve. The truck scene on my street is amusing to say the least.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          No, Ford and GM trucks are not a better value overall. The F series and Silverado series are Ford and GM’s cash cows, bringing in the majority of the companies profits. The Truck Departments for both companies are corporate backwaters; consolation prizes in the corporate world. Back to income: the F series and Silverado series sell in the hundreds of thousands. Both manufacturers have manufacturing costs honed razor thin. With manufacturing economies of scale of course Ford and GM can sell their hugely produced products at deep discounts and still make a profit. In fact they have to sell at huge discounts to keep manufacturing volume and profits up. Toyota doesn’t need to sell hundreds of thousands of full size trucks to be profitable. I’ll repeat that; Toyota (and probably Nissan) doesn’t have to sell hundreds of thousands of full size trucks to be profitable. Put down your pitchforks and torches B&B, full-size trucks are something Ford and GM do very well. Reference my above line about them being a corporate backwater. Ford an GM leave the truck lads and lassies alone. Imagine if the Japanese did sell their full-size trucks with tens of thousands of dollars off. Less profit in the long-term; huge gain in market share. They haven’t done it. YET.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Imagine if the Japanese did sell their full-size trucks with tens of thousands of dollars off.”

            As I commented yesterday, locally (and apparently nationally) the Titan line offers discounts beyond even what the Big3 provides. Despite that the truck is only moving a little over 3000 units each month.

            I can’t say with 100% certainty but I’d be surprised if the new Titan isn’t internally considered a failure for Nissan.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Neither the Tundra, Titan nor the Ridgeline are a failure as long as people choose to buy them.

            They may not be great moneymakers, but they do take sales away from Ford and GM. And Toyota, Nissan and Honda are in a better financial position to endure break-even sales than Ford or GM who must make gazillions on each truck sale just to keep the lights on.

            I think it was a smart move for each of those manufacturers (Toyota, Nissan and Honda) to bring a pickup truck to market to capture the sales of those buyers utterly disgusted with the offerings from Ford and GM.

            Now RAM, that’s a different story. Jeep and RAM are the icing on the cake for Fiatsler. Jeep and RAM are what keeps Fiatsler going financially.

    • 0 avatar
      blackEldo

      I definitely buy Envoy becoming a Buick nameplate simply because it follows their (fairly stupid) “EN” naming convention: ENcore, ENvision, ENclave. I heard there will be another crossover called ENspire, so why not toss in ENvoy while we’re at it?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    This is easy, but GM won’t do it. Give the Jimmy real off-road chops and not just automatic AWD. If you’re serious about competing with the Wrangler then build something that competes with the Wrangler. Same goes for Ford, but that arena is too risky so neither will take the chance

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      Vehicles like the GT500, Explorer ST, Aviator Hybrid and Raptor indicate Ford is all about the risk these days, so I don’t see them cutting corners on the Bronco. Hardware, drivetrains, styling … I’ll wager they’re all in to go head-to-head with Jeep. It isn’t going to be a Ranger with a closed in bed.

  • avatar
    hausjam

    I’ll take a GMC Typhoon please.

  • avatar
    The_Guru

    Wait, does GMC have an equivalent Blazer? If not, why not just carelessly and haphazardly slap it on that? Its not like GM values any of their nameplates anyway.

  • avatar
    MBella

    “The new Blazer and upcoming sort-of subcompact Trailblazer have no equals in GMC’s restrained lineup. Nor does the Traverse.”

    Wouldn’t the Acadia be the equivalent GMC to the Traverse?

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      The previous gen Acadia was the same size as the Traverse, but the current Acadia is considerably smaller.

      Traverse = Enclave
      Acadia = XT6
      Blazer = XT5 = pending Buick model

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    SUV version of the Canyon for GMC. Exclusive to GMC. One variant of this new Jimmy must have suspension from Colorado ZR2 and the top must be at least partially removable.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    GM Unibody SUVs? Aren’t we talking about the best fruit pies and doughnuts at the day-old bakery store?

  • avatar
    Hank

    GMC is just a label sewn on barely disguised Chevys. It should have even. Cast off long before Pontiac.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Agreed. I’ve never understood GMC, it appears to be a trim line of high end Chevy trucks and SUVs with some extra commercial vehicles plus some more HD choices. Does GMC have any original products you can’t get at your local Chevy dealer?

      I realize trucks and SUVs are big sellers these days so GMC pulls in the cash, but wouldn’t Chevy to prefer to have all those profits going back into the main brand? An article last week mentioned that RAM is #2 in trucks unless you combine Chevy and GMC together.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I believe the original idea behind GMC was to give Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac and Oldsmobile a truck to sell like Chevy had and that is the reason GMC made the downsizing cut. Buick and Cadillac still needed a truck

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I own a 19 Toyota Tacoma, and I love it. Recently, while on the east coast, I had a 19 GMC Canyon SLE truck rental. Actually, I also liked the Canyon … EXCEPT … every so often, the transmission did some funny stuff at slow speeds. So, I don’t know what gives with the shifting at slow speeds, but other than that, it was a nice vehicle. However, the transmission was enough of a turnoff that I would not purchase the vehicle. The shifting issues appeared about four times over three weeks. I don’t know what transmission was in the vehicle, but GM had better get that fixed.

  • avatar
    Kaplan

    I’d much rather GM return to form and bring in a rebadged Jimny the way they did with the Chevy/Geo Tracker.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    A BOF Wrangler competing Jimmy product would bring the Bro-Dozer crowd to Buick GMC dealerships. I can tell you with confidence that this is not the type of customer that GMC and Buick wants in their new car showrooms. As a Yukon XL Denali owner and a GM shareholder, I don’t want that crowd in GMC Buick dealers, either.

    Anyway, Jimmy is dead. A Bronco/Wrangler fighter will have to come from Chevrolet.


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