The subcompact (B-segment) crossover, which would slot beneath the current GMC Terrain and wear the GMC Granite name, has been a point of contention for GM product planners for quite some time, sources tell us. In fact, current thinking as it relates to the potential vehicle revolves around finding a way not to cannibalize sales of the all-new Buick Encore GX and Chevrolet Trailblazer, given that the Granite would be roughly the same size as those models and share the same GM VSS-F platform / vehicle set. It would also be sold in the same showroom as the new Encore GX.
The idea for a GMC model to slot below the Terrain started in 2010 with the GMC Granite Concept. Based on the GM Delta II platform, the show car was a tall hatchback roughly the same size as as Scion xB. It featured rear-hinged rear doors and also derived a pickup truck variant called the Granite CPU (an acronym for Compact Pick Up).
After a few false rumors suggesting that the Granite Concept was green-lit, the Granite Concept ultimately never made it to production, allegedly because engineers could not find a cost-effective way to meet crash test regulations with the rear-hinged door design. The project was then shelved shortly thereafter.
But the spirit of a GMC model beneath the Terrain seems to have never died within General Motors. In fact, the automaker has filed four trademark applications spanning ten years to register GMC Granite with the USPTO. The efforts have so far proven fruitless, because any applicant wishing to register a trademark must demonstrate an actual, real-world product or service by the name in question. GM currently has no real-world product using the GMC Granite name, hence it can’t successfully register its applications.
While GM continued to pursue rights to the GMC Granite trademark, a colossal shift in automotive buying preferences has taken place, resulting in crossover SUVs skyrocketing in popularity – primarily at the expense of sedans. Subcompact / B-segment crossovers have seen one of the largest sales gains as a result of the shift, and GM has benefited significantly.
For instance, Chevrolet Trax sales have jumped 43 percent to 89,916 units in 2018 compared to 2015 levels, while Buick Encore sales have catapulted 191 percent to 93,073 units in 2018 compared to 2013. Together, the Trax and Encore typically make up the best- or second-best-selling subcompact crossover SUV franchise.
Seeing those figures makes us scratch our heads while wondering why GM has held GMC back from entering the rapidly-growing subcompact crossover segment. Clearly, the market has enough room for another subcompact crossover, especially one with GMC’s Professional Grade brand values and unique styling. To that end, GMC brand chief, Duncan Aldred, has previously stated that he believes a subcompact crossover would fit well within the lineup.
If a subcompact GMC crossover SUV does get approved before the end of 2019, then we expect it to launch around the 2022 or 2023 calendar years. And it will more than likely be called GMC Granite. But as of this writing, no such plans exist to our knowledge.