Yes, Virginia – there will be a successor to the GMC Canyon, and it will be sold in the North American market.
We knew Chevrolet planned on selling a successor to the Colorado compact pickup in the United States, but for the longest time, GMC – General Motors’ long-standing truck brand – wouldn’t say if it would field a follow-up to its Colorado twin. The indecision apparently didn’t last long, as officials confirmed a next-generation Canyon during a press conference held earlier this morning.
“While we continue to make strong progress in fuel economy gains on our full-size trucks, there is a group of customers who want the functionality of a truck but may not need a full-size pickup,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick/GMC marketing, in a prepared statement. “We believe introducing a new, agile, and efficient mid-size Canyon will meet the needs of many pickup buyers.”
If prior Canyon sales records are anything to go by, “many” might be a bit of a stretch. Thus far in 2011, GMC has sold only 7063 examples of the current Canyon pickup. In that same time span, Chevrolet managed to move a whopping 29,775 Colorados – which, save for minor badging and trim details, are identical from head to toe. This trend isn’t a fluke: in 2011, Colorado sales totaled 31,026 units, while GMC struggled to move 9590 Canyons. In 2010, Colorado volumes rang in at 24,642, while Canyon sales totaled a meager 7992 trucks.
Perhaps part of the problem is a lack of distinction between the present Canyon and Colorado ranges. Since their introduction in 2004, both variants of the GMT-355 platform have looked, and felt like carbon copies of one another both inside and out. Apart from slightly different grille inserts, wheel designs, and option packages, the two trucks are identical. Things grew even more confusing from 2006 through 2008, when Isuzu sold a copy of the Canyon/Colorado with its emblems tacked on in lieu of bow-tie or GMC insignias.
We’ve heard GM’s promise to reduce over-crowding vehicle segments across its four core brands, and to avoid blatant examples of badge engineering, but this has us a bit worried. It’s completely possible to create a unique visual identity for the new Colorado – Isuzu’s latest Thai-market D-Max is a good example – but do prior Canyon volumes warrant investing in an extensive makeover? We’d hope so, considering the new Colorado’s front clip is blatantly Chevy-themed.
As GMC isn’t revealing much more about the next-generation Canyon, at this point, all we can say is “time will tell.” Like the Colorado, the new Canyon will be built in GM’s assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri. Launch timing is still unknown, but as Chevy hopes to begin Colorado production in late 2013, we’d assume the same applies for GMC’s next-generation small truck.