GMC has grown to become one of General Motors’ shining stars. In a market clamoring for pickup trucks and crossovers, GMC has an answer with premium intentions to boot. But, have you ever wondered what “GMC” actually stands for? Or where the truck brand came from?
GMC was first founded by the Grabowsky brothers in Detroit in 1902. Though, GMC, as we know it today, was comprised of two companies: Rapid Motor Vehicle Co. and Reliance Motor Co. The former built delivery trucks, while the latter company built both cars and trucks. General Motors purchased both companies and renamed it one unit: General Motors Truck Company in 1909. The “GMC” logo was first used in 1911 and the company formally become GMC in 1913.
In the beginning, GMC wasn’t powered by fossil fuels, either. In 1912, GMC built electric trucks powered by batteries. They could haul 1,000 pounds to 6 tons. In 1931, the company began using Detroit Diesel engines. That same year, Chevrolet and GMC’s overlap took place. For decades, GMC vehicles would be virtually identical to Chevrolet models until recently. GMC has been positioned as upmarket from Chevrolet pickups and SUVs.
Speaking of present day and GMC’s premium push, 29.9 percent of GMC sales are of Denali sub-brand vehicles. Even more fascinating: 60 percent of all Yukon and Yukon XLs sold are Denalis. To this day, GMC is GM’s third-largest brand globally, behind Chevrolet and Buick. It’s GM’s second-largest brand by sales volume in the United States.