The Denali trim that GMC uses to denote its top-of-the-line vehicles was introduced back in 1999, partly as a way to challenge the recently introduced Lincoln Navigator. Fifteen years later, and with GMC the tenth-largest US automotive brand by itself Denali has become a sub-brand that keeps the cash registers ringing at the Renaissance Center HQ. While GMC increased sales by 9 percent in 2013, TheDetroitBureau.com reports that that Denali sales rose by 20 percent.

There are currently five Denali models in the GMC line, with the Denali trim available on all but its commercial vans. In 2010, when the now-discontinued Yukon XL Hybrid was also on sale, GMC sold 32,886 units of its top trim. Last year, that number had increased to 75,558, with almost no help from traditional marketing spends. Go to YouTube and search for "GMC Denali commercials" – the few actual commercial results are from years ago. GMC marketing director Roger McCormack tells TheDetroitBureau.com, "It's largely all been organic."

As sales have grown, so has the tide of money GMC rakes in from the additional luxury features on Denali models. The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe starts at $44,600, yet its 2014 Yukon Denali doppelganger starts at $58,320, pricing that includes additional features like the larger 6.2-liter V8, nicer interior, head-up display and magnetic ride control suspension. The Yukon XL Denali starts at $60,965, but the article says the "average customer" likely to spend "up and above $70,000" to take one home. How does that happen? On a top-trim Tahoe LTZ, the top-tier wheel option is a set of 20-inch chrome wheels for $400; on the 'base' Yukon Denali you can swap for a set of 22-inch chrome alloys for $2,995. Add it up, and an analyst at AutoTrends Consulting said that kind of margin "epitomizes the concept of obscene profitability." We say when it comes to Denali, GMC appears to stand for "Grabbing More Cash."


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  • 110 Comments
      kosmo69
      • 9 Months Ago
      looks almost like Porsche option pricing model, almost.
        MayTheBestCarWin05
        • 9 Months Ago
        @kosmo69
        THATS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY!!! Has anyone priced the Macan?!? It's base price is $49k and you can option one up to $109k.... but there are no articles saying that.
      Patrick
      • 9 Months Ago
      I like that the marketing direct said it has mostly been organic. So he must have a very easy job if it works on its own.
      Justin Campanale
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why anyone would pay $70 k for a fussed up Tahoe with a hideous chrome makeover is beyond me.
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        Truth.
        Susan
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        They pay even more for the ultra-ghetto version with the name "Escalade" in big chrome letters. There is no excess of subtlety in the American buying public.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        In the past the Denali had a real AWD system while the Tahoe had a 4WD system dressed up to pretend it's AWD. I don't know if they've changed that in recent years though.
      Mchicha
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is an $80,000.00 truck. Its worth every penny. with Magnetic ride control, close to 500 HP and close to 500 pound of torque in a naturally aspirated motor, it should be able to keep up with traffic with ease.. The 10 Speed cannot get here fast enough though.
        Karfreek
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Mchicha
        500hp to keep up with traffic...lol
          Mchicha
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Karfreek
          This for one is a heavy beast, and trust me, in some places like here in southern California, the average speed on the freeway is well above 65 MPH
      Dwayne Maxfield
      • 9 Months Ago
      I'm down for GM being Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and Denali. GMC itself renders no special purpose, other than being the fewer built, higher price tagged brother of Chevrolet. The Denali brand under GMC is its highest selling point, so why not go forward and let them take over as their own independent as an American luxury truck & SUV line while killing off everything else that is GMC? Offer them in special trims, leathers, options, etc. (more so than currently) to distinguish them from their Chevy counterparts.
        rstonnerdd
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Dwayne Maxfield
        The paperwork involved in making that happen (Denali being a seperate line) would probably weigh about as much as last years procution run. Save the money from spending it on lawyers and spend it on engineering and design.
        bookemd
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Dwayne Maxfield
        GM should just be Chevrolet and the Cadillac marque, which could then take on some of Buicks models for lower entry prices like the Germans are doing.
      Andre Neves
      • 9 Months Ago
      "GMC's Denali offerings are going great guns" Going great guns? What does that even mean?
        hboi18
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Andre Neves
        yeah.. glad i am not the only one who is puzzled
        David MacGillis
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Selling so fast and in such volume that the demand cannot be met.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Andre Neves
        It means the "editor" is unpaid. This is the way AOL/huffpo works, they do not pay most employees to gather content online, because these people want to put the company on the Resume.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Andre Neves
        ENGRISH!
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 9 Months Ago
      Lol at 70K for one of these.
      Street King
      • 9 Months Ago
      Between these GM's and the Dodge Durango - and considering all new vehicles are tested through multiple focus groups, I think its safe to say people STILL want huge SUV's.
        imtoomuch1
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Street King
        They do. People who disagree are complete idiots that fear the truth. If gas prices were lower, there would be a ton more out there.
          Susan
          • 9 Months Ago
          @imtoomuch1
          That is exactly why gas should be more expensive in the US. We got comfortable and sloppy with 50+ years of ultra-cheap energy.
        Mchicha
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Street King
        Those that oppose these lovely vehicles do so for religious reasons. You cannot argue with them.
          Technoir
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Mchicha
          Only 50+ year old geezers and fat families buy this.
          Mchicha
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Mchicha
          @Justin Campanale Exactly my point.
      citidriver
      • 9 Months Ago
      Beer taste at champagne prices
      Tourian
      • 9 Months Ago
      And despite this, some know it all troll will still ask why they kept GMC and closed Pontiac.
        Justin Campanale
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Tourian
        Why did they keep GMC and close Pontiac? Seriously? :)
        Carpinions
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Tourian
        Took the words right out of my mouth. "They shoulda killed GMC!" is starting to rank down there with "guvmint motors!"
        pghcc2007
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Tourian
        True, keeping GMC and closing Pontiac was econ 101 level obvious. But still, I would love to have seen and perhaps bought an Alpha Firebird, Zeta Bonneville or 2nd gen Solstice. :(
          CJ_313
          • 9 Months Ago
          @pghcc2007
          The biggest problem with GM disposing of the Pontiac brand was that there were no comparable alternatives within General Motors when Pontiac was dissolved. G6, G8, Solstice & Vibe owners were simply abandoned, as Chevrolet offered virtually nothing similar to adopt some of those orphaned owners. It wasn't quite the same as Ford giving Mercury the axe, as none of them had much of a separate identity compared to their Ford counterparts to begin with. I believe Pontiac models actually appealed to a different audience, and those buyers likely went to comparable automakers such as Kia/Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda, Scion and Honda for new vehicles.
          Justin Campanale
          • 9 Months Ago
          @pghcc2007
          And what does GMC have to offer? Nothing. All or most GMC customers would just go straight to Chevrolet if their precious brand closed down. If they don't then they probably are too stupid to realize that their truck is a Chevy which has taken a good beating with an ugly stick. Pontiac, on the other hand, offered a level of excitement and pure passion that Chevy at its best couldn't replicate. An Alpha G6, an shortened Alpha G5, a Zeta G8, an Alpha Firebird, a Zeta GTO, and a shortened Alpha Solstice would have made for a fantastic lineup. These cars would be for those who don't want to spend a pretty penny on a BMW, but still want a sporty daily driver, kind of like what Mazda is doing right now.
          Matt Mossberg
          • 9 Months Ago
          @pghcc2007
          @Justin Campanale "Pontiac, on the other hand, offered a level of excitement and pure passion that Chevy at its best couldn't replicate." The corvette team and I would disagree on that. But I agree on your overall point. Those cars you mentioned would entice me if they were made today.
      manure
      • 9 Months Ago
      Have to hand it to GM, this is one product GM does better than any company on Earth. It's not even a contest. Mercedes GL is a toy next to these. I would never drive one, but the appeal is there.
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @manure
        Except for the whole lack of IRS preventing rear seats from folding flat deal.
      avinash Machado
      • 9 Months Ago
      Good thing that they did not kill the GMC brand.
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