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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Design: GMC in Truck Denial with Denali XT

GMC is Genral Motors trucks-only brand in the United States. Despite the slowdown in SUV sales they are GM's numer two selling nameplate here currently and the General wants to protect the brands growth in the coming gas sipping era.

The Denali XT concept, to be revealed to the public at next week's Chicago Auto show, is a stab at a more efficient pick-up truck. Some commentators have compared the rwd car-based vehicle to the Chevy El Caminos and GMC Caballeros of the 60s-80s but to me this seems like a logical outgrowth of the current "crossover" craze.

Just as crossovers build a new vehicle that has truck attributes off of a car platform, the Denali XT has pickup truck features but a platform that is the same as GM Australia's new rear-drive base (which also makes it the same as the upcoming Chevy Camaro coupe and Pontiac G8 sedan.) This is unlike the El Camino/Caballero which were usually just Malibu wagons with their rear sections modified to form a pickup truck bed.

A malaise-era 1979 Caballero

As a design the Denali is very strong, and this represents a possible exciting new direction for GMC. There is a touch of Chrysler's fulls size LH cars in the stance and the high beltline/ low roofline, which makes for a chopped side window profile. The face is fantastic, aggressive without being over-the-top cartoonish. The texturing of the grille, the placement of the headlight/vent units that sweep back into the sculpted fender forms, the sides of those same forms that flow from the bumper face are all expertly handled. The rear echoes the front lamps with tailight/vent clusters of its own. The tailights are very nicely shaped, as is the oversize chrome tailgate handle. The roofline is extremely well-executed and overall the design is a real winner. Here's hoping GM follows through and produces this.

1 comment:

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