GM plans to broaden an off-road sub-brand referred to as AT4 throughout its car lineup in 2020.


DETROIT – General Motors desires to copy the success of its “cash machine” Denali lineup of pickups and SUVs to spice up earnings as auto gross sales sluggish and competitors within the profitable truck market will increase.

The Detroit automaker is increasing its AT4 off-road efficiency bundle supplied on some vehicles and SUVs to its whole car lineup in 2020 as a sub-brand, like Denali has turn out to be. Launched on its redesigned Sierra pickups starting in late-2018, the AT4 efficiency bundle shall be supplied on new fashions of its highly-profitable Yukon SUVs which might be scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday night time.

GM is hoping its expanded AT4 line, together with Denali, will turn out to be a double-pronged revenue heart for the automaker’s GMC truck and SUV division. Denali pickups and SUVs, GMC’s luxurious line, commanded a mean worth of about $56,000 per car final yr – increased than luxurious manufacturers comparable to Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and BMW.

The Sierra AT4 pickups are promoting at common transaction costs which might be 1000’s of {dollars} increased than its section and roughly $2,000-$3,000 underneath Denali. Gross sales of AT4 fashions for the Sierra have exceeded inner expectations by 50% with out taking away from Denali’s gross sales, in line with Duncan Aldred, international head of GMC.

“AT4 is premium off-road. It is designed to be up there proper with Denali,” Aldred advised CNBC throughout a telephone interview. “I believe it is going to be an actual success.”

That success is anticipated to help the automaker in funding its plans for autonomous and all-electric automobiles, together with a new electric Hummer pickup as a part of its plans to launch at least 20 new EVs globally by 2023.

AT4 vs. Denali

AT4 fashions characteristic all-wheel-drive, darker exterior accents and a few extra off-road capabilities and options. That compares to Denali fashions, which represented 30% of gross sales in 2019, that embrace extra chrome and extra luxurious options and facilities.

GMC on Monday launched AT4 on the Canyon pickup as a part of a refresh of the midsize pickup for the 2021 model-year. The car incorporates a new bigger grille design, 17-inch off-road tires in addition to an off-road tuned suspension and skid plate underneath the car for extra safety.

Whereas AT4 fashions are at present promoting for lower than Denali variations, Aldred mentioned that may not be the case sooner or later as the corporate expands the brand new sub-brand.

“We do not know the place the ceiling is for AT4 both on quantity or common transaction worth,” he mentioned. “It is exceeding expectations up to now and we’ll see the place it goes however we have actually seen sufficient up to now that we are going to proceed to put money into it, and develop it and improve it going ahead.”

Increasing AT4 because it did with Denali is a “good transfer” for GMC as off-road styling has grown extra fashionable lately, in line with Karl Brauer, government writer of Cox Automotive.

“These trademark variations of in any other case high-volume fashions might be nice revenue drivers and nice advertising and marketing and gross sales alternatives for manufacturers,” he mentioned. “Denali, after all, has confirmed that over the past a number of years. Now they’re doing it once more with AT4 … It widens the client base.”

Former GM President Dan Ammann advised buyers in 2018 the Denali was a “cash machine” for the corporate.

‘Jewel within the crown’

However GMC must be cautious about AT4 not taking away from Denali fashions, notably for the upcoming 2021 Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs. It hasn’t to this point with Sierra as a result of they attraction to completely different consumers, in line with Aldred.

Prime-end Denali fashions characterize about 60% of Yukon gross sales and command the best common pricing of any GMC car – a statistic GM hopes to take care of, if not develop, with the brand new fashions.

“Our Denali execution of this car is the very best we have ever achieved. It is the jewel within the crown,” Aldred mentioned. “It is extra premium, it is richer and it is much more daring than the outgoing mannequin.”

The common worth paid by clients for Yukon fashions was greater than $61,200 and about $66,000 for Yukon XL in 2019. The present fashions can price greater than $80,000. GM has not introduced pricing for the brand new fashions, that are anticipated to reach in dealerships later this yr.

GMC Sierra Denali tailgate


“The massive SUVs are the large cash makers for any model that provides them,” Brauer mentioned. “And Denali is an much more worthwhile model of the Yukon and it makes that much more helpful as a key car of their lineup.”

GM’s truck franchise, which incorporates pickups and full-size SUVs like the Yukon and Yukon XL, accounts for a $65 billion high-margin enterprise, the corporate has mentioned.

‘Large yr’

The Yukon fashions are the start of an necessary yr for GMC following gross sales growing 1.5% final yr.

Aldred declined to debate gross sales expectations for GMC this yr however given the quantity of redesigned fashions and the growth of AT4, a gross sales decline would possible be disappointing.

“Successfully, the entire showroom is first full yr or a brand new introduction,” he mentioned. “It is an enormous yr for GMC. It is actually a kind of years that not often occurs.”

Along with the redesigned Yukon SUVs, this yr will mark the primary full gross sales yr for its redesigned heavy-duty pickups. It additionally just lately refreshed the Acadia crossover and plans a “main” refresh of the compact Terrain crossover later this yr, Aldred mentioned.

GM, in line with individuals accustomed to the plans, additionally plans to announce the revival of the Hummer name as an all-electric pickup under the GMC brand.

A GM spokesman declined to touch upon the automaker’s plans for the previous its former gas-guzzling, military-style SUV.

The Detroit automaker has signed NBA star LeBron James to seem in a brand new commercial during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, in line with the individuals, who requested to not be recognized as a result of the plans aren’t but public. The car is anticipated by late 2021 or early 2022.

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