Report: GMC Canyon AT4 to Gain Special Edition As GM's Midsize Pickup Gap Widens

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
report gmc canyon at4 to gain special edition as gms midsize pickup gap widens

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon gain arguably overdue refreshes for 2021, ensuring continued consumer traction amid boosted competition from rivals. The midsize pickup segment has grown, and not just in volume.

Joining the GM duo and perennially popular Toyota Tacoma last year was the Ford Ranger; meanwhile, Nissan’s long-awaited Frontier revamp lands for ’21.

Word is that the Canyon, which sees a new AT4 trim for the new model year, will don extra goodies by year’s end. Good news for a truck that’s increasingly playing second fiddle to its bowtie-wearing sibling.

According to GM Authority, the uplevel, off-road oriented Canyon AT4 will gain a Special Edition sometime later in the 2021 model year, potentially adding modest rough-and-tumble goodies from the scuppered Off-Road Performance Edition package expected to appear for ’21.

Should this comes to pass, it’s an opportunity for GM to boost the truck’s margins with readily available add-ons.

Besides the new AT4 trim, which replaces the former All Terrain model, the Canyon sees carryover powertrains and a bolder front end that better mimics the larger Sierra. Since going on sale as a 2015 model, the current-generation Canyon soon saw the gap between it and the Colorado widen as midsize pickup sales (like that of larger segments) took off.

In 2015, GM’s midsize pickup sales amounted to 114,507 units, of which 26.3 percent (or 30,077 units) were Canyon. While Canyon volume stayed relatively stable, reaching a high point the following year (37,449), Colorado sales kept climbing, reaching 134,842 units in 2018, or roughly 50,000 units more than in 2015. Last year, Canyon volume (32,825 units) amounted to 21.2 percent of GM’s midsize truck sales.

At the halfway point in 2020, as GM, like all automakers, weighed the impact of the pandemic-related lockdowns on its sales ledger, the gap grew further. Sales through the end of June fell 36.7 percent for the Colorado and 48.5 percent for the Canyon. In this time frame, the General unloaded just 9,709 Canyons to the Colorado’s 41,273 units, meaning Canyon’s year-to-date slice of GM’s midsize mix was just 19 percent.

With increased consumer spending and improved inventory in the second half of the year, that relationship could change. The new midsizers kicked off production in June, with the models rolling into dealerships in recent days. New faces are good, but in the Canyon’s case, it still won’t be able to offer something on the same level as the Colorado ZR2.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • JGlanton JGlanton on Aug 11, 2020

    I saw two Colorado's working hard on the street during lunch today. Sneaking in and out of traffic, covering themselves behind larger trucks, pulling in on red curbed corners to wait for other cars to make moves... They were both serving as Parking Enforcement vehicles in a busy town center.

  • Akear Akear on Aug 12, 2020

    Why would anyone want such a hulk of a vehicle as a daily driver. I would have more joy owning either a Sonic or Mirage than this monstrosity.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Aug 12, 2020

      @akear: Believe it or not, despite owning a Colorado now, I agree with you whole-heartedly; today's trucks are much too large, as are the truck-based SUVs built on those chassis. That said, Sonic and Mirage (outside of the newer CUV) are both gone. I don't like large but I also don't feel comfortable in most truly small vehicles (excepting the Fiat 500, which was just bloomin' FUN to drive!)

  • Paul Alexander I'd love to buy a car without infotainment.
  • EBFlex Chrysler has the best infotainment by far. The older uConnect system was bulletproof and never had issues. The newer one based on android auto is a big step backward but it's still very good. Nothing else comes close to Chrysler's infotainment.
  • EBFlex People don't want compromises. They want a vehicle that will match what they have now with ICE which includes very short refueling times, long range, and batteries that don't degrade over a rather short time. In the midwest, people don't live on top of each other. People like their space and are spread out. 30+ mile commutes are common. So is outdoor living which includes towing.Government cars make sense for the coasts where people love to live on top of each other and everything is within walking distance. They don't make sense in areas where it's cold and 40% of your range could be lost. Government cars are just not viable right now for the majority of people and the sales reflect it.
  • MaintenanceCosts There are a lot of lifestyles outside of urban America that don't work well yet with EVs. I live in Seattle and would face minimal (if any) inconvenience from driving only EVs. We are in fact planning to replace our big family car with an EV in 2024. But my relatives in small-town Texas would have to change some things they do unless/until there is a complete fast charging network along rural I-20. That network is coming, but it will be a few more years.
  • VoGhost Five years ago, Tesla was ten years ahead of the competition. I haven't seen anything to suggest that's changed.