General Motors continues to drape the truck market with a two-pronged brand strategy that has effectively been funding the company’s multi-billion dollar transition into a full-line EV maker. Further playing into the hand of America’s largest automaker, demand for trucks -specifically of the most premium variety – continues to surge. This is in the face of a starved vehicle inventory, economic volatility, and various parts shortages. For GMC, that means rabid demand for its top-shelf Sierra Denali pickup truck franchise, as well as its foray into the off-road space with the expanding AT4 and even more capable AT4X trim levels. But those ongoing demand won’t sway the brand’s need to play in more volume-oriented, more affordable price segments, according to GMC Global Vice President Duncan Aldred.
GMC Will Continue To Play The Entire Field With Sierra 1500 Family
“when you look at the segment, and we do micromanage the segment – we split it into five equal price bands, quintiles – and we measure our performance in each band. They’re all like mini sub-segments, there’s real big volume from the entry point of the segment right through to this top-end,” said GMC Global Vice President Duncan Aldred to MC&T during the refreshed Sierra pickup truck drive, which focused on the $77,395 Sierra AT4X and $81,690+ Sierra Denali Ultimate. Both trims are new for the 2022 model year.
“Once you made the multi-billion dollar investment in a pickup truck, it can’t and wouldn’t make sense to say ‘oh let’s only play in half the marketplace,’ because you’ve already made that investment,” said Aldred. “We might as well really try to grow the market share.”
The entry level 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 family is represented by the standard Sierra Pro ($36,295 MSRP), followed by the Sierra SLE ($47,555), and the more mid-range Sierra Elevation ($49,195). Only the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Pro is available in a single cab, short box bodystyle with rear-wheel drive. The other trims require at least a Double Cab four-door configuration, hence the jump in price. All entry 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks come standard with a 2.7L L3B turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 5.3L L84 V8 gas and 3.0L LM2 Duramax diesel engines are available as optional engines from the SLE trim on up.
“(The base half-ton truck segment) is still a critical segment, a profitable segment from the bottom to the top,” said Aldred “We really see that should and will play in all the price points, and GMC’s wonderful position incredibly can do that, so we’ll take advantage of that.”
Inferring that current market conditions are irregular, Aldred mentioned that more volume for GMC trucks would be pushed on the lower end.
“In a normal demand environment, you’re still going to see huge demand for trucks at the bottom.”
The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 is currently built at both the GM Fort Wayne, Indiana Assembly and GM Silao, Mexico Assembly plants alongside the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
Sierra EV Could Test Even Deeper Waters
As for whether or not GMC has found the “top” of the luxury pickup truck market, the upcoming 2024 GMC Sierra EV could be another market barometer, as the Hummer EV, also sold through GMC, is currently the most expensive production truck for sale on the market.
“I’m not sure we have. Watch this space for the Sierra EV, that may redefine things yet again. There’s lots of exciting things to come,” said Aldred.
For reference, the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV First Edition is $104,000 USD and comes with 660 horsepower and 780 lb-ft of torque to produce a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. The GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 Is $112,000 USD, comes with 1,000 horsepower, and all sorts of party tricks that currently makes it one of the ultimate pickup trucks on the market, regardless of whether it has a battery pack or a V8 engine. Upon the advent of the GMC Sierra EV, which will have a Denali variant, it’s likely that the world may see that bar raised once more.