Back in 2018, GM revamped the Cadillac trim level cadence with a new Y-trim level strategy, which plants the base model at the bottom of the “Y” while branching its sporty models in one direction, and its luxury-focused models in the other. Now, GM is applying a similar strategy to the GMC brand. Here’s how the new GMC Y trim level cadence shakes out.
Similar to the Cadillac Y-trim level strategy (as well as the new Buick Y trim level strategy, as GM Authority covered last week), the GMC trim starts out at a base (Elevation) and then splits into two distinct branches. However, while Cadillac splits its models into sporty- or luxury-focused branch, GMC splits its models into an off-roading-focused branch or a luxury-focused branch.
As we can see, the off-roading branch of the GMC Y-trim level cadence includes AT4 and AT4X trims, with AT4X models offered as the most-capable off-roaders in the lineup. Meanwhile, the luxury branch includes Denali and Denali Ultimate trims, with Denali Ultimate models obviously offered as the most luxurious trims of the lineup.
This new Y-trim level strategy replaces the more ambiguous hierarchy which GMC used previously. For those readers who may not remember, the hierarchy used previously included a mix of trims such as Base, Pro, SL, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, Denali, AT4X, and Denali Ultimate trims, depending on the vehicle in question.
Currently, this new GMC Y-trim level strategy is in place with two all-new products – the 2023 GMC Canyon pickup and the 2024 GMC Acadia crossover. As such, the trim walk for both models should be considerably more obvious and simplified for customers to choose which path they would like to take, and how far they want to go with it. Bringing the Y-trim level strategy to GMC should also simplify things for dealers as well (look for more on that in a separate article).
That all said, this new Y-trim level structure does not include a spot below Elevation, which could be an issue for fleet and commercial customers interested in a more barebones offering, such as a Pro trim level for the GMC Sierra. Theoretically, such a trim could slot in below Elevation in the stem of the Y.
All told, it’ll be interesting to see how GMC applies this new strategy to the popular GMC Sierra pickup, which we expect to continue offering a barebones Pro trim level below Elevation. Look for the strategy to crystallize further with the next-generation GMC Terrain and Sierra.