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GMC, formerly the General Motors Truck Company, or the GMC Truck & Coach Division (of General Motors Corporation), is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM) that primarily focuses on trucks and utility vehicles. GMC currently makes SUVspickup trucks, vans, and light-duty trucks, catered to a premium-based market. In the past, GMC also produced fire trucksambulances, heavy-duty trucks, military vehiclesmotorhomes, transit buses, and medium duty trucks.

While many GMC and Chevrolet trucks are mechanically similar, GMC is positioned as a premium offering to the mainstream Chevrolet brand, with luxury vehicles such as the Denali series and the electric, off-road Hummer EV series. In North America, GMC vehicles are almost always sold alongside Buick vehicles at joint dealerships, allowing the same dealer to market both upscale cars and trucks.


1920 GMC Advertisement

GMC was founded in 1900 as Grabowsky Motor Company[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 1908 Durant gained control of Reliance Motor Car Company, another early commercial vehicle manufacturer. In 1911 General Motors formed the General Motors Truck Company and folded Rapid and Reliance 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.

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]1925 GMC Model K52

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. 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”.

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.

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

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.

Platform sharing with Chevrolet

Chevrolet / GMC rebranded models

2016 Chevrolet Silverado

2016 GMC Sierra

2005 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab

2005 GMC Sierra Crew Cab

1997-2000 Chevrolet C3500 Silverado Extended Cab

1997 GMC Sierra SLE Crew Cab

1976 Chevrolet K20

1979 GMC K15 Sierra Grande

1968 Chevrolet C10

1968 GMC K2500 Super Custom

1966 Chevrolet C10 Pick-Up

1966 GMC C-series pickup

1955 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier

1955 GMC Suburban

1946 Chevrolet Pickup

1941 GMC Model 9314

1920 Chevrolet tow truck

1919 GMC Tanker

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. Beginning in 1928, GMCs used Pontiac’s 186 cu in six-cylinder engines in their lighter trucks.[14] Medium-duty trucks relied on Oldsmobile straight-6 engines, while the heaviest trucks used GMC’s own “Standard Big Brute” engine.[14] 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. GMC dealerships were partnered with Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick dealerships.

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.

As of 2020, GMC’s vehicles are 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.[15]

In North America, Chevrolet offers a full lineup of carscrossover vehiclessport 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 joint dealerships, allowing the same dealer to sell a full lineup of upscale vehicles, including both cars and trucks. However, standalone GMC dealerships do exist, primarily for dealers who have a focus on selling to the commercial and fleet vehicle markets.

GMC models

Main article: List of GMC vehicles

Light-duty trucks[edit]

T and F series19371938Similar to the Chevrolet G/S and F/T series
AC and AF series19391940AF series is cabover design
C and E series[16]19411947Little different from the Chevrolet AK Series trucks
New Design series19471955Little different from the Chevrolet Advance-Design trucks
Blue Chip series19551959Pontiac Powered, similar to the Chevrolet Task-Force trucks
C and K Series19601998half–, three-quarter– and one-ton trucks, with Sierra, Sierra Grande,
High Sierra, and Sierra Classic trim lines
Sprint19711977Coupe utility – GMC version of the 1971 to 1977 Chevrolet El Camino
Caballero19781987Coupe utility – GMC version of the 1978 to 1987 Chevrolet El Camino
S-1519821990Became the Sonoma in 1991
Sonoma19912004Formerly the S-15 1982–1990
Syclone19911991High performance version of the Sonoma
Sierra1988currentGMC version of Chevrolet C/K (1988–99) Chevrolet Silverado
(1999-present) medium- and heavy-duty pickup
Canyon2004currentGMC version of Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup
Hummer EV SUT2022 MYcurrentGeneral Motors’ first all-electric off-road pickup

Medium-duty trucks

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
19391959Line sold to Navistar,
now marketed under the WorkHorse brand.
L-Series1960c.1984Steel Tilt Cab
Forward1980s2010rebadged Isuzu Elf
W-Series19842010Rebadged Isuzu Elf
T-Series19942010Rebadged Isuzu Giga
TopKick20032009Model used for Ironhide in the Transformers film series

Heavy-duty trucks

DLR/F/“Crackerbox”19591968Aluminium Tilt Cab
Astro 9519681988


P-series[17]1940s[18]1980“Parlor” (highway) coaches
“Old Look”1940[18]1969transit
“New Look”19591986transit
B-series19662003school bus
S-series19861989school bus (forward control)


Rally19701996GMC version of the Chevrolet Sportvan
Vandura19701996GMC version of the Chevrolet Chevy Van
Safari19852005GMC version of the Chevrolet Astro
Savana1996currentGMC version of the Chevrolet Express


Suburban19372000Rebranded as Yukon XL, it was sold in middle east with Suburban nameplate beside the Yukon XL, until 2007
Jimmy19691995GMC version of the Chevrolet Blazer
S-15 Jimmy19832005GMC version of the Chevrolet Blazer
Tracker19891991Canada only, GMC version of the Geo Tracker
Typhoon19921993High performance version of the S-15 Jimmy
Yukon1992currentGMC version of the Chevrolet K5 Blazer (1992-1995)
and Chevrolet Tahoe (1995–present)
Envoy19982009GMC version of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer
Yukon Hybrid20092013GMC version of Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
Yukon XL2001currentFormerly the Suburban
Acadia2007currentGMC version of the Chevrolet Traverse; became a mid-size crossover SUV
commencing with the 2017 model year
Terrain2010currentGMC version of the Chevrolet Equinox
Hummer EV SUV2023 (planned)N/ASport Utility variant of the electric Hummer EV off-road sub-brand


GMC motorhome19731978

Military vehicles

AFKWX19411945Cab over engine


Chevette19921995Rebadged Chevrolet Chevette intended for the
Argentinian market

See also


This article includes a list of general references, but it remains largely unverified because it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (June 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
  1. ^
  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. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  6. ^ “GMC’s Centennial 1921-2012”Motortrend. Motor Trend Group LLC. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  7. ^ Yanase opened Japan to Western carsAutomotive News, March 31, 2008
  8. ^ Theobald, Mark. “Yellow Coach Part 1”Coachbuilt. 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. 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. Jump up to:a b Stromberg, Austin W., ed. (January 1928). “New GMC Six Has Pontiac Engine”Power WagonXL (277): 64.
  15. ^ Hemer, Chris (November 28, 2019). “First Look: 2020 GMC Sierra HD”Trailer Life.
  16. ^ “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.
  17. ^ “List of GM PD Series Parlor Coaches”.
  18. Jump up to:a b produced by Yellow Coach 1940–43

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to GMC.

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