Much like Buick, GM’s GMC brand has a somewhat limited international presence. Big Red’s “global” availability is restricted to the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Middle East, but the GMC Canyon midsize truck is a notable exception to that, as it’s only available in the U.S. and Canada.
In fact, GMC offers its entire model lineup except for the Canyon in markets outside its home. Even more curious is that the larger Sierra is offered in all four markets where GMC has a first-party presence.
Mexico is perhaps the oddest example of all, as the Canyon’s brother – the Chevrolet Colorado – is available for sale in the country, but the Canyon is not.
The Middle East is in a similar, yet slightly different situation: the Canyon is not available in that market, but the Sierra is. Chevy follows the same strategy there – offering the Silverado, but not the smaller Colorado.
We can think of two potential reasons that the GMC Canyon is not offered outside the U.S. and Canada.
The first is the simple matter of available supply. Since the introduction of the second-generation Canyon, GM has struggled to make enough units of the truck to keep up with demand. The same holds true for the Chevy Colorado. The GM Wentzville plant in Missouri is currently the only facility that assembles the duo, and output remains short of supply.
From that standpoint, it is probably more lucrative for GM to sell the limited quantity of Canyons it can make in two of the closest and most profitable markets to the Wentzville plant, rather than transporting the vehicles overseas to the Middle East. Meanwhile, we wonder if there are enough customers in Mexico to buy the Canyon at its premium price.
The second reason is a bit more involved, and is associated with GM’s semi-complicated relationship with Isuzu. Roughly a decade ago, the duo had entered into a partnership to develop the international-market Chevrolet Colorado, which is sold as the Chevy S10 and the Isuzu D-MAX in various international markets. That vehicle provided the GMT31XX platform as the foundation on which the U.S.-market Canyon and Colorado are built, though we must note that the American- and international-market trucks differ vastly in terms of their engineering, design, features and equipment.
Even so, it could very well be that some contractual obligation prevents GM from selling vehicles on the GMT31 platform in some markets. Notably, GM and Isuzu have recently ended their mid-size truck alliance – so it should be safe to assume that any potential contractual limitations associated with the deal should come to an end sooner rather or later.
GM Authority Take
GM has been quite clear on its decision to take its GMC marque upmarket. That much is evident in the brand’s latest products – the all-new 2019 Sierra, 2018 Terrain and 2017 Acadia. But the decision to not offer the Canyon in every market where the brand has a first-hand business presence seems rather strange.
In fact, GMC sells the Sierra (all the way up to the Denali trim) in all four of its current “global” markets. Having the Canyon slot in below the full-size Sierra should most definitely entice buyers who are more attracted to a mid-size truck due to the well-established product attributes of such a vehicle (such as its smaller size, lower price, or both).
And considering just how many Hilux/Tacomas are sold in the Middle East and Mexico, GM has a rather significant opportunity by offering the GMC Canyon in those markets. To capitalize on the occasion, GMC should follow the same premium market positioning for the Canyon as it has already established in the U.S. and Canada – offering a higher level of refinement for the discerning buyer who wants something more than a run-of-the-mill midsizer.
So barring any potential contractual restrictions, offering the Canyon in all four markets where GMC does business is a clear-cut opportunity to introduce more people to GMC and to the Canyon. As common sense would have it, doing so would increase Canyon sales volume, leading to increased revenue and top-line profitability.
Here’s to hoping the Canyon comes to Mexico and the Middle East in due time.
About GMC Canyon
The GMC Canyon is a mid-size pickup truck marketed by GM's GMC brand. It is currently GMC's smallest pickup truck, slotting under the full-size GMC Sierra. The current model was introduced in 2015 and represents the second generation of the Canyon nameplate. It rides on the GMT-31XX platform shared with the Chevy Colorado, as well as the international-market Chevrolet Colorado/S10 and Chevrolet Trailblazer. As of September 2018, the GMC Canyon is offered only in the United States and Canada; it is not offered in the two other markets in which GMC does business - Mexico and the Middle East.
The 2018 GMC Canyon represents the fourth model year of the second-generation Canyon. The vehicle remains highly competitive in its segment, offering two gasoline engines and a diesel motor, which is a segment exclusive. As opposed to its Chevy-badged brother, the Chevy Colorado, the Canyon does not offer an off-road-specific model like the Colorado ZR2. However, the Canyon does offer a luxury-focused Canyon Denali model. Some of the biggest criticisms of the second-gen Canyon include a lack of various desired features wanted by many present and potential customers, including a moonroof, a sliding rear window, and an extreme offroad model.
The 2019 GMC Canyon represents the fifth model year of the second-generation Canyon. The vehicle sees new exterior colors and a new set of bright silver 17-inch wheels on the SLE model. Additionally, the 2019 Canyon gets new set of infotainment systems that represent the third generation of GMC infotainment systems, a second in-cabin microphone for the front passenger, a high-definition Rear Vision Camera on some models, UltraSonic Rear Park Assist, a heated steering wheel on SLT and All Terrain models, and 6-way power driver seat on some models. There's also a rearrangement of USB ports in the front and back.
A midcycle refresh for the 2020 model year is expected to bring revised front and rear styling along with interior and powertrain updates. There's also the expected introduction of the Canyon AT4 to replace the Canyon All Terrain. The GMC Canyon is built at the GM Wentzville factory in Missouri operated by GM USA.
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