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Report: GMC Might Build a Jeep Wrangler Competitor on the Colorado/Canyon Chassis

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 7/18/2016 jcapparella

2016 GMC Canyon SLE diesel© Provided by Car and Driver 2016 GMC Canyon SLE diesel

Jeep's stratospheric rise over the past few years has General Motors feeling a little bit jealous. But GM has a successful truck-focused brand of its own with the potential to capitalize on SUV mania: GMC. A report from Automotive News suggests that GMC is poised to take direct aim at Jeep with a possible new, off-road-themed, body-on-frame SUV to compete with the iconic Jeep Wrangler.

The plan supposedly calls for a mid-size SUV based on the same chassis as the GMC Canyon (pictured) and Chevrolet Colorado pickup trucks. That's all we know so far, as the project is apparently in the early stages and would not arrive before 2020. This new model would be exclusive to GMC, an important step forward given that the brand currently sells a lineup of rebadged and restyled Chevrolet crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

This Wrangler-fighting GMC would be a big part of GM's goal to eventually increase GMC's market share from 3 percent to 5 percent. GMC has sold 254,587 vehicles through June of this year, a slight 3.8 percent decrease over the same period last year and only a little better than half of Jeep's year-to-date volume of 468,131 units. (The Wrangler contributed 100,355 of those sales.)

With rumors of Ford reviving the body-on-frame Bronco SUV swirling as well, the Wrangler could soon be facing real competition for the first time since the departure of the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Whether a GMC offering would steal sales from the Wrangler or expand the market for rugged off-roaders, the brand could use a stand-alone model, and this seems like a viable way to give it one.

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