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GMC Models Cost More Than Chevy: Why, And Which Is Better? Page 2

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One place where that difference might pay back for GMC ownership is when you return to trade in. In a quick check of used Chevrolet versus GMC models on Kelley Blue Book, we saw that GMC models do tend to sell for significantly more than Chevy models—perhaps due to their relative rarity.

For some of those who do pay more for new GMC vehicles, a big portion are repeat buyers, who for some reason or another (different trim or styling cues, their dealership, or the allure of the badge) prefer the brand. Despite that, they're generally assembled at the same place and have the same underlying structure and core components—so no, we can't say they're better.

There isn't a big difference in household income between Chevy trucks and GMC, across brands. But there are some differences between Chevrolet truck and GMC buyers demographically. Based on TrueCar data—using Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon owners as a comparison—we can say that GMC owners are more likely to be married, and significantly less likely to be single and with kids; more likely to be 'post-family' empty-nesters; more likely in families with two-wage earners; more likely to be managers, skilled tradesman; more likely to be women; less likely to be teachers or executives; and less likely to have a college degree. Tahoes (Chevy) are also more likely to be bought by those who identify as Black or Hispanic.

So why, at the time when GM was cutting brands like Saturn, did it decide to keep GMC around? Wouldn't most shoppers have just gone to Chevrolet? For Toprak, that's a puzzle. “I think GM would be much better off having one truck line that focuses on one brand,” he said. “I don't really see the case in keeping two brands that essentially sell the same vehicle.

Denali, Denali, Denali

2013 GMC Acadia Denali introduction, Chicago Auto Show, Feb 2012

2013 GMC Acadia Denali introduction, Chicago Auto Show, Feb 2012

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There's one good reason why General Motors might be keeping GMC around, Toprak says, and that revolves around the brand's top-of-the-line Denali trim—which GMC has essentially been equipping and pricing as Cadillac models, with a more rugged appeal.

“One strategy that would work long-term is that GMC becomes the luxury truck brand for GM.”

For instance, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali was priced at $35,350—allowing less than a thousand-dollar difference from the base Cadillac SRX.

Under such a plan, the Denali name itself might hint either at the future of GMC—as a sort of luxury truck-and-utility counter to Cadillac cars, and perhaps even one that might only use the Denali name. GMC trucks would have things that Chevrolet trucks don't—and GMC's relative exclusivity on American roads, as it is, would already be set up to play to that.

In the meantime, what's our advice? Shop Chevy; shop GMC; and go with the best price.

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Comments (13)
  1. Certainly the value to GM is that the GMC brand of trucks are sold at Buick and/or Cadillac identity stores. Whether the buy gets any benefit? Yes, I recall that many years ago, I had a Corvair 500 that I bought from a Chevy/Olds dealership. Parked next to an Olds 98, my car with a tiny bug, that was worked on last.

  2. General Motors should have merge GMC into Chevrolet dealership. I do not see any advantage of buying a GMC.
    Heck, Saturn would have been a better deal for GM than keeping GMC as a separate dealership.
    Saturn had a loads of brand loyalty....and GM threw them to the foreign brands.

  3. Is this nothing more than buying a store brand vs name brand?
    You can decide yourself which is the store brand vs brand name ..GMC or Chevy :-)

  4. I bought a GMC Sierra in 2008 because it had a good looking front end and I found one equipped the way I wanted it. Chevy was not so good looking in fact the big bumper was ugly. I never compared cost because at the time it was hard to find Diesel engines.

  5. Typical GM logic....Have 2 essentially overlapping product lines. GM should have killed GMC years ago as it's line of vehicles are basically fancier Chevy's. This reminds me of the Buick, Cadillac and Pontiac senerio. Kill Pontiac (which) I feel should have been kept as their performance division and keep Buick which is WAY too close to Cadillac in terms of luxury but Buick was kept because it's a big seller in China.

  6. They're not going to kill off GMC. It makes too much money. Buick should've gotten whacked, though.

  7. It is interesting how some folks wouldn't consider buying a Chevrolet PU, but do buy GMC's and vise versa. Some believe the GMC is a better built truck. My opinion is there is no difference, just depends on if you want one or the other. As a kid I had the misconception that GMC's were more heavy duty than Chevy's, but now know that wasn't true. My opinion was that while it was common to find Chevrolet and Pontiac dealers (same dealer handling both brands), typically the GMC vehicles were found in dual brands with Oldsmobile, Pontiac or in some cases, Cadillac. Especially in farming area's it gave those dealers, excluding Chevrolet, a brand of pickups to carry in addition to the brands of cars they sold.

  8. The appealing appearance of GMCs alone got me interested in GMCs. I grew up in a big Chevy Family, and ever since I became fascinated and interested in GMCs, I began having a strong desire to get a GMC Envoy and Sierra(because they look so cool!) Personally, I think GMC should make performance differences in some of their GMCs: Ex: Sierra vs Silverado(although the latter is stronger than the former, based on what I've read and saw on a GMC Sierra vs Silverado truck video :D) Both great companies, both make neat vehicles.

  9. my grandfather used to drive car delivery trucks for his job prior to working for mobil. he said the difference between the lower cost chevy and for instance buick was the amount of inspections given the product during assembly . Take it for what you want, he bought buick until his death in 2006.

  10. my grandfather used to deliver cars by truck to the dealers. he said the difference in say, a Chevrolet and a Buick of the same frame type was the number of quality inspections during assembly. he drove Buicks until he died in 2006.

  11. I was always a GMC buyer because I din not want the name of Chevrolet all over the tail gate. They just feel better. I did buy Chevy work trucks.

  12. GMC has managed to provide more modern, classy styling...while keeping a more rugged appearance than Chevy. Chevy looks Wal-Mart, GMC looks Target. Chevy looks Microsoft, GMC looks Apple. I bought a 2013 GMC Terrain...didn't even bother looking at the Chevy dealership, because I wanted something with a more distinctive character.

  13. old school GMC = pressure lubed engine.

    old school chevy = splash (oil slinger) engine.

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