General Motors continues to drape the truck market with a two-pronged branding strategy that has effectively funded the company’s multibillion-dollar transition to a full-line electric carmaker. The demand for trucks – especially of the most premium kind – continues to increase. This is in the face of a starved vehicle inventory, economic volatility and shortages of various parts. For GMC, that means strong demand for its top-shelf Sierra Denali pickup franchise, as well as its entry into the off-road space with the expanding AT4 and even more capable AT4X trim levels. But ongoing demand won’t affect 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 field with the Sierra 1500 Family
“When you look at the segment and we micromanage the segment—we divide it into five equal price bands, quintiles—and we measure our performance in each band. They’re all like mini-subsegments, there’s really big volumes from the entry point of the segment all the way through this top, GMC Global Vice President Duncan Aldred told MC&T below the refreshed Sierra pickup, 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’ve made a multibillion-dollar investment in a pickup truck, it can’t and wouldn’t make sense to say, ‘oh, let’s just play half the market,’ because you’ve already made that investment,” Aldred said. “We might as well really try to increase 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 with rear wheel drive. The other details require at least a four-door configuration with Double Cab, hence the price jump. All 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks come standard with a 2.7L L3B turbocharged four-cylinder engine. 5.3 L L84 V8 gas and 3.0 L LM2 Duramax diesel engines are available as optional engines from the SLE trim up.
“(The base half-ton truck segment) is still a critical segment, a bottom-to-top profitable segment,” Aldred said “We really see that it should and will play at all price points, and GMC’s wonderful position can incredibly do that , so we take advantage of that.”
Aldred concludes that current market conditions are erratic and mentioned that more volume for GMC trucks would be squeezed 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 GM Fort Wayne, Indiana Assembly and GM Silao, Mexico Assembly, along with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
The Sierra EV was able to test even deeper water
As for whether or not GMC has found the “pinnacle” of the luxury pickup 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 sold on the market .
“I’m not sure we have. Look at this space for the Sierra EV, which could redefine things again. There’s a lot of exciting things to come,” Aldred said.
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 costs $112,000, comes with 1,000 horsepower and all sorts of party tricks that currently make it one of the ultimate pickup trucks on the market, whether it has a battery pack or a V8 engine. With the arrival of the GMC Sierra EV, which will have a Denali variant, it’s likely the world will see that bar raised once again.