GMC to add Canyon Denali, Sierra Denali Ultimate trucks

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Tuesday it will add two new models to its popular and highly profitable Denali sub-brand for GMC: an upscale 2017 GMC Canyon Denali pickup in late 2016 and the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate pickup in the first quarter of the year.

The trucks were revealed ahead of media days this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

So far this year, Denali vehicles have represented about a quarter of GMC’s sales to retail customers. Since the nameplate — named after Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America — was introduced on the 1999 Yukon, GMC has sold more than 850,000 Denali vehicles. GMC currently offers Denali versions of seven models.

The GMC brand aims to boost its U.S. sales to retail consumers to 5 percent of the industry within a decade from 3 percent today and Denali sales will help that effort. GMC sales through October are up 12.5 percent this year.

GMC re-introduced the Canyon pickup in fall 2014 as an all-new model. The truck this year has sold nearly 25,000 through October.

“Canyon is the segment’s first and only premium midsize truck, offering unparalleled capability and efficiency matched with maneuverability and refinement,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC sales and marketing, said in a statement.

Denali vehicles with their up-level trims, have a special chrome grille, and the Canyon Denali will receive 20-inch aluminum wheels with painted accents. The Canyon Denali, available in six exterior colors, will have chrome fog lamp bezels, chrome assist steps, a polished exhaust tip and a spray-on bed liner. The jet-black interior features heated and ventilated leather front seats. Sill plates and floor mats are decorated with the Denali logo.

The Canyon Denali will be available on crew cab model pickups in either two- or four-wheel drive. A 3.6-liter V-6 engine is standard, but buyers can choose the new 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel engine as an option. Pricing for the Canyon Denali will be announced closer to its launch next year.

The Sierra Denali Ultimate, the new top offering for the Sierra, is equipped with body-color bumpers, chrome exhaust tip, decorative interior trim, stainless-steel exhaust, spray-on bedliner and three-dimensional Denali logo. Sierra gets a front facelift for the 2016 model year that includes LED headlamps, a new Denali grille and LED taillamps.

Inside, the truck receives soft-touch materials, aluminum trim, leather trim, 12-way power adjusted front heated and vented leather bucket seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Sierra Denali Ultimate, available only on four-wheel drive crew cabs with either a 5-foot, 8 inch or 6-foot, 6-inch bed. It has 22-inch wheels with chrome or black inserts, sunroof, chrome tow hooks and a tri-mode power step to assist getting into the cargo bed. The truck will come equipped with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine with automatic transmission.

“This truck is the ultimate expression of the Sierra Denali with greater emphasis on the bold and refined presence and advanced features that make Denali models synonymous with precision and exclusivity,” Aldred said in a statement.

GMC debuted the Sierra Denali in 2002 and today, about 20 percent of Sierra light-duty trucks sales are Denali. Sierra continues to be a big seller for GMC, as its sales through October have totaled more than 180,000, up 8.6 percent year-over-year.

GMC has some competition in the growing premium truck space.

Ford Motor Co. announced in July the return of its top luxury truck, the Ford F-150 Limited, complete with lots of chrome, leather and luxury appointments. Ford said the truck will be available this winter; pricing has not been announced, but is expected to come in higher than the Platinum F-150’s price of more than $51,000. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram brand also offers the Limited trim, its top-of-the-line luxury pickup that also starts above $50,000.

GMC said it has a 15.5 percent share of the growing premium full-size truck market where average sales prices top $55,000. GMC had no share of this segment in 2013.

The Sierra Denali Ultimate will be priced in the low $60,000 range, though exact pricing will be announced closer to launch, GMC spokeswoman Kelly Wysocki said. The 2015 Sierra Denali starts at about $50,000.

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