The people who will buy this car, according to a company source, “are more likely to take friends to clubs and load outdoor gear on weekend excursions than to haul lumber or tow a boat.” They also won’t mind squeezing into what is, after all, a pretty small vehicle—2 feet shorter than the present GMC Terrain SUV, but with a wide-track stance and an urban-appropriate 1.4-liter turbo producing probably 138 hp.
Introduced at the Detroit Show, the Granite has provoked mostly positive comment. We love it. Its suicide doors open to permit “a mountain bike to be loaded completely inside with the tailgate closed.” So says the press release (scroll down), to which we add that it’s a helluva lot easier to load stuff from the side than the rear if you’re closely parked, as is usual in the city. If you are loading a claw-foot bathtub instead of a mountain bike, well, that’s okay, too.
The car seems to have lots of nice interior details, some of which can be seen in the video below (thankfully without sound). If GM produces it, which would seem likely, the Granite will compete with the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube. It looks to be more substantial and better thought out than either.
Two quibbles: Why will this car be marketed (assuming it gets built) under the GMC brand? All that noise about “professional grade” heavy-duty trucks for contractors and lumber haulers is now out the window with this mini-crossover city car? It doesn’t make sense. And why name it “Granite,” which seems to fit the GMC image, but not this car?
Auto writer Jim Henry had a good piece on this as yet another in GM’s long history of marketing madnesses. If trucks are the core of the GMC brand (which probably should have gone south with Pontiac and the rest), how come the company isn’t concentrating on those? “GM should be simplifying its brand positioning, instead of muddying the waters.”
Can a good car, if produced, escape the marketing monster that GM has created? How should the Granite be positioned to sell to young city buyers?