By Nauman Farooq
Think of GMC and you envision big, gas guzzling trucks. Afterall, this is the company whose smallest vehicle up until recently was a pick-up truck called the Canyon.
That is something GMC hopes to change with the introduction of the Granite concept, as unveiled at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
This vehicle is quite visibly aimed at competition like the Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and the Scion xB.
“Granite was conceived as a new type of vehicle from GMC – one that could stretch people’s ideas of what a GMC can be,” said Lisa Hutchinson, product marketing director for GMC. “We call it an ‘urban utility vehicle’ and our goal was redefining what the GMC name could mean to a new generation of customers looking for both bold design and functionality.”
This diminutive hatchback (it is actually 14-inches shorter than a Chevrolet HHR) is powered by a turbo-charged, 1.4-liter, four cylinder engine (the same engine that is in the new Chevrolet Cruze). The transmission on this concept is a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
So its components suggest that this vehicle is production ready, however General Motors at the show is saying this is strictly a concept car.
One of the most striking design details about this vehicle are its rear suicide doors with no B-pillar.
“We think of the Granite as the automotive equivalent of an urban loft apartment,” said Dave Lyon, executive director of North American Interior and Global Cross-Brand Design. “The exterior has an unmistakable industrial look, but the interior is warm and personalized.”
Once seated, the driver selects gears with a rotary dial, which GMC says “rotates with the precise clicks of a torque wrench.”
The styling is very butch, because GMC’s are not meant to be cute. “We gave the Granite a bold yet appealing design that truly makes a styling statement,” said Juho Suh, exterior design manager. “For a new generation of urban professionals, it delivers the look and functionality they need.”
Whether GM puts the Granite into production or not remains to be seen, but if enough public gives it a thumbs up, it can very soon be put on track to production.