QOTD: Is It a Good Idea to Invite Jimmy to the Party?
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.
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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I'd much rather GM return to form and bring in a rebadged Jimny the way they did with the Chevy/Geo Tracker.
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.