The introduction of GMC’s off-road AT4 sub-brand has been a major success for the automaker, and with the recent introduction of the even more capable AT4X sub-brand, it’s clear GMC customers are responding well to this new focus on go-anywhere capability.
The popularity of these off-road-ready models may leave some observers wondering just how many people are really taking their brand-new GMC crossover, SUV or pickup truck off the beaten path. According to data collected by GMC, 19 percent of light-truck and crossover customers say they use their vehicle to go off-road, while 22 percent desire a rugged-looking or off-road capable vehicle. Additionally, in the segments that GMC operates in, owners are roughly three times more likely to use their vehicle for active uses like camping or carrying outdoor sports gear.
That said, these customers aren’t necessarily looking for a hardcore off-roader like a Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco. Of the customers who say they use their vehicle to go off-road, 67 percent say that convenience and on-road comfort were also extremely important.
Given the relative popularity of off-roading among GMC buyers, it’s easy to see why the automaker decided to launch the AT4 and AT4X sub-brands. The automaker has a proclaimed strategy of disrupting the off-road market “by delivering a unique combination of premium and credible off-road capability” throughout its lineup. This strategy aims to set GMC apart from other brands that focus on capability, as true off-road products may not have the same premium look and feel.
In the U.S., roughly 50 percent of GMC vehicles sold are in either the AT4 or opulent Denali sub-brands. This figure rises even higher for the GMC Sierra HD full-size pickup, where 80 percent of customers are flocking to either AT4 or Denali sub-brands. This is an indication that most GMC buyers are looking for a combination of capability and luxury, with the AT4 and Denali sub-brands allowing them to choose which of these two characteristics they want a higher concentration of in their vehicle.