Detroit 2010: GMC Granite Concept

By Chris Haak


GMC Granite Concept revealed at 2010 North American InternationaThis morning in Detroit, GM revealed its Granite crossover concept.  Calling it an “Urban Utility Vehicle,” the Granite is really very similar in concept to other boxes on wheels such as the Honda Element, Scion xB, Kia Soul, and Nissan Cube.  With the departure of Pontiac from GM’s portfolio of brands, GM really needs a way to draw younger customers into Buick-GMC showrooms.  Further, until the Acadia (and later Terrain), GMC had sold nothing but body on frame trucks.  That product mix is also less-than-ideal for GM in a 35.5 mpg CAFE world that is just around the corner.

Toward the objective of skewing its buyer demographic toward younger buyers, GMC today displayed the GMC Granite concept.  Built on GM’s compact front wheel drive chassis that shares components with cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze.  In fact, the Granite concept also shares the 1.4 liter turbocharged four cylinder Ecotec engine with the soon-to-be-released US Cruze.  What the Granite doesn’t share, however, is its six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.  Fortunately, it also does not share the Cruze’s extremely conservative design.

GMC Granite Concept revealed at 2010 North American InternationaThe Granite does have a boxy design, but the boxiness is far more successful in the Granite than it is in the production GMC Terrain.  Rather than looking like a phony, contrived version of “toughness,” the Granite’s large wheels, sculptured wheel openings, swept-back windshield, and extremely short overhangs seem to convey both the GMC design language, with updated modern proportions.

The short overhangs and 103.6 inch wheelbase make the Granite fairly easily maneuverable in urban settings – the scene where GMC hopes to attract more customers than it has been able to in the past.  The Granite has four doors, with the rear doors having rear hinges.  This combination creates an easy entry, and is of course also present in the Honda Element.

Passenger-side seats can be folded laterally toward the center console to create a large, long open area that’s large enough to accommodate a mountain bike with its wheels still on.  The interior design motif is pure industrial-chic, with Nubuck faux suede and satin-finish and anodized trim.  Storage compartments abound, and GMC seems to be proud of the Granite’s flexibility and configurability.

The vehicle was presented as a concept, but it seems plausible that it could go into production eventually with some toning-down of the concept car-like features.  I’m not sure what effect such a vehicle would have on GMC’s “Professional Grade” brand, but I’m also not sure that GMC has much choice but to expand beyond hard-core trucks, because casual buyers of big trucks have largely disappeared from the market, and are likely to never return.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. Well, I’ll be first, and I have to say that I like the looks and I like the execution of the design concept. I just don’t know if it’s a fit for the GMC brand, but I never thought the GMC brand should have made the cut when GM cut it’s brand stable down, so what do I know?

  2. Expect this to end up as a Buick. GMC exists for one reason, and that is to put Trucks on the lots of Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealers. (now just Buick/GMC)

    If the dealership agreeements alowed Buick/GMC dealers to sell Chevy branded pckups there would be no need for GMC at all.

  3. Would have probably fit in either the Saturn or the Pontiac portfolio nicely, but not gonna happen now, so it will be a Chevy.

    It’s not upscale enough for a Buick, I think.

  4. I like the car though you all think that It’s chevy ! But It’s really a nice car, both interior & exterior ! I like the back of the cat more than the front. May be they could design the headlights in such a way that look bigger & more beautiful & also the car looks like a big head with a small nose from the side angel ! What do u think ?

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