GMC (automobile)

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FormerlyGeneral Motors Truck Company
Company typeDivision
Founded1911; 113 years ago (1911)[1]
FounderWilliam C. Durant
Area served
North America
South Korea
Middle East
ParentGeneral Motors

GMC (formerly the General Motors Truck Company (1911–1943), or the GMC Truck & Coach Division (1943–1998)) is a division of American automotive manufacturer General Motors (GM) for trucks and utility vehicles. GMC currently makes SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and light-duty trucks. In the past, GMC also produced fire trucks, ambulances, heavy-duty trucks, military vehicles, motorhomes, transit buses, and medium duty trucks.

While many of their vehicles are mechanically similar, GMC is positioned as a premium offering to the mainstream Chevrolet brand, and includes the luxury trim Denali. In North America, GMC vehicles are almost always sold alongside Buick (another premium brand) vehicles at multi-brand dealerships.


Roots to the GMC brand can be traced to 1900, when the "Grabowsky Motor Company" was established[2] by brothers Max (1874-1946) and Morris Grabowsky,[3] in Detroit, and renamed Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in 1902 when the brothers moved operations to Pontiac, Michigan. In 1909, William C. Durant gained control of Rapid Motor Vehicle Company and made it a subsidiary of his General Motors Company.

In 1911, General Motors formed the "General Motors Truck Company" and folded Rapid and Reliance Motor Car Company (another early commercial vehicle manufacturer that Durant had acquired in 1908) into it. In 1912, the Rapid and Reliance names were dropped in favor of "GMC". All General Motors truck production was consolidated at the former Rapid Motor Plant 1 in Pontiac, Michigan.[4]

GMC maintained three manufacturing locations in Pontiac, Michigan, Oakland, California, and St. Louis, Missouri [when?]. [citation needed]

1920 GMC advertisement

In 1916, a GMC truck crossed the country from Seattle to New York City in thirty days, and in 1926, a 2-ton GMC truck was driven from New York to San Francisco in five days and 30 minutes. During the First World War, the company provided the Model 16 3/4-ton truck,[5] and modified its production to provide 1-ton troop carriers and aviation support vehicles, and by 1918, more than 90 percent of GMC truck production was for military use. GMTC provided a total of 8512 trucks to the U.S. government during the war years and earned a Distinguished Service Award.[6] During the Second World War, GMC Truck produced 600,000 trucks for use by the United States Armed Forces.

In 1923, GMC trucks were exported to Japan to help recovery and reconstruction as a result of the Great Kantō earthquake, and the company continued to provide vehicles as the transportation infrastructure was rebuilt. Before the earthquake struck, most of Japan's transportation of commerce and people was by wooden carts and government owned railroads, which were severely damaged when the train tracks were twisted beyond use. Autonomous trucks were much more effective at traveling to heavily damaged areas.[7]

A "Crown Gasoline" (Crown Central Petroleum)'s General Motors truck Model K52 in 1925

In 1925, GM purchased a controlling interest in Yellow Coach, a bus and taxicab manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois which was founded by John D. Hertz. The company was renamed Yellow Truck & Coach Manufacturing Company (YT&CMC), an affiliated subsidiary of General Motors. All manufacturing operations of General Motors Truck Company were placed under YT&CMC. In 1928 Plant 2 opened and all headquarters staff moved to the administration building at 660 South Boulevard E in Pontiac, MI. In 1943, GM purchased the remaining interest in YT&CMC and renamed it GMC Truck and Coach Division.[8]

In 1981, GMC Truck & Coach Division became part of GM Worldwide Truck & Bus Group. [citation needed] Bus production ended in May 1987 and the division name was changed from GMC Truck & Coach to GMC Truck Division. The Canadian plant (in London, Ontario) produced buses from 1962 until July 1987. GM withdrew from the bus and coach market because of increased competition in the late 1970s and 1980s. Rights to the RTS model were sold to Transportation Manufacturing Corporation, while Motor Coach Industries of Canada purchased the Classic design.[9] In 1998, GMC's official branding on vehicles was shortened from "GMC Truck" to simply "GMC". [citation needed]

In 1996, GM merged GMC Truck Division with the Pontiac Motor Division in order to "give the combined division a brand image projecting physical power and outdoor activity".[10] This coincided with many GMC dealerships merging with Pontiac dealerships, allowing a single dealer to offer both trucks and entry-to-mid-level cars, using a similar approach already in use by Chevrolet. [citation needed]

In 2002, GMC celebrated its 100th anniversary and released a book entitled GMC: The First 100 Years, a complete history of the company. [citation needed]

In 2007, GMC introduced the Acadia, a crossover SUV, which was the division's second unibody vehicle (after the Vandura) whose predecessor, the GMT-360 based Envoy, was discontinued with the closure of GM's Moraine, Ohio plant on December 23, 2008.

In 2009, GMC ended production of medium-duty commercial trucks after over 100 years.[11] They became exclusive to Chevrolet with the launch of the 4500HD/5500HD Silverado in 2018.[12] Also in 2009, GMC introduced the Terrain, a mid-size crossover SUV based on the GM Theta platform shared with the Chevrolet Equinox. It replaced the Pontiac Torrent after the brand's demise.

In 2020, General Motors announced the return of the Hummer nameplate, this time as a sub-brand of GMC instead of a stand-alone division.[13] The Hummer lineup includes two models, an electric pickup truck and SUV, to be sold as the "GMC Hummer EV". According to GM, the Edition 1 production electric pickup truck will feature 1,000 horsepower, hit 60 mph in 3 seconds and is scheduled to launch in late 2021. The new Hummer EV was revealed on October 20, 2020.

In 2022, the GMC brand was introduced in South Korea as a subsidiary of GM Korea.[14]

Platform sharing with Chevrolet[edit]

1919 GMC Tanker
1941 GMC Model 9314
1956 GMC 100

Beginning in 1920, GMC and Chevrolet trucks became largely similar, built as variants of the same platform, sharing much the same body sheetwork, except for nameplates and grilles – though their differences, especially engines, have varied over the years. GMC advertising marketed its trucks to commercial buyers and businesses, whereas Chevrolet's advertising was directed towards private owners. [citation needed] Beginning in 1928, GMCs used Pontiac's 186 cu in six-cylinder engines in their lighter trucks.[15] Medium-duty trucks relied on Oldsmobile straight-6 engines, while the heaviest trucks used GMC's own "Standard Big Brute" engine.[15] From 1939 to 1974 GMC had its own line of six-cylinder engines, first the inline sixes known as "Jimmy's" from 1939 to 1959, and then their own V6 from 1960 until 1974, of which a V8 and a V12 version also existed. Additionally, from 1955 through 1959, the less than 2-ton, domestic GMC gasoline trucks were equipped with Pontiac V8s, and Oldsmobile V8s—whereas the Canadian models used Chevrolet engines.[citation needed] GMC dealerships were partnered with Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick dealerships.[citation needed]

Between 1962 and 1972, most GMC vehicles were equipped with quad-headlights, while their Chevrolet clones were equipped with dual-headlights. The platform has been the most profitable for General Motors, as it was shared with the Chevrolet Blazer/GMC Jimmy, the Chevrolet Suburban and the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Denali. In 1998 the platform was introduced as the Cadillac Escalade.

In 1971, GMC marketed their version of the Chevrolet El Camino, which was based on the Chevrolet Chevelle. Called Sprint, it was virtually identical to the El Camino, and a sport version, the SP, was equivalent to the El Camino SS. It was renamed Caballero in 1978, and remained produced alongside the El Camino until its demise in 1987.

In 1973, with GM's introduction of the new "rounded line" series trucks, GMC and Chevrolet trucks became even more similar, ending production of GMC's quad-headlight models, and setting the standard for the Chevrolet/GMC line of trucks for over thirty years.[citation needed]

As of 2020, GMC's vehicles were marketed as more premium, luxury vehicles positioned above similar vehicles from the more mainstream Chevrolet division. Chevrolet vehicles are priced lower than a comparable GMC, but GMC vehicles have features not found in a comparable Chevrolet.[16]

In North America, Chevrolet offers a full lineup of cars, crossover vehicles, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks. GMC, however, does not offer any car models, so typically they are sold along Buick (or sometimes Cadillac) vehicles at multi-brand dealerships, allowing the same dealer to sell a full lineup of upscale vehicles, including both cars and trucks. However some standalone GMC dealerships do exist, primarily for dealers who have a focus on selling to the commercial and fleet vehicle markets.

Other platform sharing[edit]

GMC models[edit]

Light-duty trucks[edit]

Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
T and F series 1937 1938 Similar to the Chevrolet G/S and F/T series
AC and AF series 1939 1940 AF series is cabover design
C and E series[17] 1941 1947 Little different from the Chevrolet AK Series trucks
New Design series 1947 1955 Little different from the Chevrolet Advance-Design trucks
Blue Chip series 1955 1959 Pontiac Powered, similar to the Chevrolet Task-Force trucks
C and K Series 1960 1991 half–, three-quarter– and one-ton trucks, with Sierra, Sierra Grande,
High Sierra, and Sierra Classic trim lines
Sprint 1971 1977 Coupe utility – GMC version of the 1971 to 1977 Chevrolet El Camino
Caballero 1978 1987 Coupe utility – GMC version of the 1978 to 1987 Chevrolet El Camino
S-15 1982 1990 Became the Sonoma in 1991
Sonoma 1991 2004 Formerly the S-15 1982–1990
Syclone 1991 1991 High performance version of the Sonoma
Sierra 1988 current GMC version of GMT400 Chevrolet C/K (1988–99) Chevrolet Silverado
(1999-present) light- and heavy-duty pickup
Canyon 2004 current GMC version of Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup
Hummer EV SUT 2022 MY current General Motors' first all-electric off-road pickup

Medium-duty trucks[edit]

Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
Varies, first letter denotes production year:
A=1939-1940, C=1941-1945, E=1946,
F=1947-1950, Z=1954, Y=1955, X=1956,
T=1957, S=1958-1959, N=1960;
Second letter denotes cab style:
C=cab behind engine, F=cab over engine
1939 1959 Line sold to Navistar,
now marketed under the WorkHorse brand.
L-Series 1960 c.1984 Steel Tilt Cab
TopKick 1980 2002
C-Series 1960 2002
Forward 1985 1997 rebadged Isuzu Elf
W-Series 1998 2010 Rebadged Isuzu Elf
T-Series 1994 2010 Rebadged Isuzu Giga
TopKick 2003 2009 Model used for Ironhide in the Transformers film series

Heavy-duty trucks[edit]

Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
DLR/F/“Crackerbox” 1959 1968 Aluminium Tilt Cab
B-Model 1960 1966
7500 1963 1978
9500 1966 1978
Astro 95 1968 1988
General 1977 1988
Brigadier 1978 1988


Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
P-series[18] 1940s[19] 1980 "Parlor" (highway) coaches
"Old Look" 1940[19] 1969 transit
"New Look" 1959 1986 transit
RTS 1977 1987 transit
Classic 1982 1987 transit
B-series 1966 2003 school bus
S-series 1986 1989 school bus (forward control)


Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
Handi-Van 1964 1970
Handi-Bus 1964 1970
Rally 1970 1996 GMC version of the Chevrolet Sportvan
Vandura 1970 1996 GMC version of the Chevrolet Chevy Van
Safari 1985 2005 GMC version of the Chevrolet Astro
Savana 1996 current GMC version of the Chevrolet Express

Sport utility vehicles[edit]

Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
Suburban 1937 2006 Rebranded as Yukon XL for 2000, it was sold in the Middle East using the Suburban nameplate through the 2006 model year.
Jimmy 1969 1991 GMC version of the Chevrolet Blazer
S-15 Jimmy 1983 2005 GMC version of the Chevrolet Blazer
Tracker 1989 1991 Canada only, GMC version of the Geo Tracker
Typhoon 1992 1993 High performance version of the S-15 Jimmy
Yukon 1992 current GMC version of the Chevrolet K5 Blazer (1992-1994)
and Chevrolet Tahoe (1995–present)
Envoy 1998 2009 GMC version of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer
Yukon Hybrid 2008 2013 GMC version of Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
Yukon XL 2000 current Formerly the Suburban
Acadia 2007 current GMC version of the Chevrolet Traverse; became a mid-size crossover SUV
commencing with the 2017 model year
Terrain 2010 current GMC version of the Chevrolet Equinox
Hummer EV SUV 2024 current Sport Utility variant of the electric Hummer EV off-road sub-brand


Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
GMC motorhome 1973 1978 The only Class A recreational vehicle produced by a car manufacturer. There were 12,921 produced.

Military vehicles[edit]

Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
ACK/ACKWX 1940 1940 Originally contracted for the French army
CCKW/CCW 1941 1945
AFKWX 1941 1945 Cab over engine
DUKW 1942 1945 Amphibious


Image Model Introduced Discontinued Notes
Chevette 1992 1995 Rebadged Chevrolet Chevette intended for the
Argentinian market

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Meyer, Donald E. (March 2009). "The First Century of GMC Truck History" (PDF). General Motors Heritage Center.
  2. ^ Steven Rossi, Antique Automobile, Vol. 85 no. 5, September/October 2021, p. 34
  3. ^ Steven Rossi, Antique Automobile, Vol. 85 no. 5, September/October 2021, p. 34
  4. ^ "The First Century of GMC Truck History" (PDF). GM Heritage Center. Donald Meyer. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Vintage truck models of GMC". The Vintage News. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  6. ^ "GMC's Centennial 1921-2012". Motortrend. Motor Trend Group LLC. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  7. ^ Yanase opened Japan to Western cars, Automotive News, March 31, 2008
  8. ^ Theobald, Mark. "Yellow Coach Part 1". Coachbuilt. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  9. ^ Stauss, Ed (1988). The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses. Woodland Hills, CA: Stauss Publications. pp. 29–32, 87, 102–105. ISBN 0-9619830-0-0.
  10. ^ Bradsher, Keith (February 20, 1996). "G.M. to Merge GMC Division With Pontiac". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "GM Getting Out of Medium-Duty Truck Business". Associated Press. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  12. ^ No Plans For GMC Versions Of 2019 Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD Medium Duty Truck from GM Authority (January 22, 2018)
  13. ^ Paukert, Chris. "Hummer's electrifying return teased in GMC Super Bowl trailer". Roadshow. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  14. ^ Centeno, Deivis (June 20, 2022). "GMC Starts Marketing Push In South Korea". GM Authority. Motrolix. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  15. ^ a b Stromberg, Austin W., ed. (January 1928). "New GMC Six Has Pontiac Engine". Power Wagon. XL (277): 64.
  16. ^ Hemer, Chris (November 28, 2019). "First Look: 2020 GMC Sierra HD". Trailer Life.
  17. ^ "A Brief Outline of the First Century of GMC Truck History". GM Heritage Center. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  18. ^ "List of GM PD Series Parlor Coaches".
  19. ^ a b produced by Yellow Coach 1940–43

External links[edit]