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GMC, formally the GMC Division of General Motors LLC is a division of
American automaker General Motors (GM) that primarily focuses on trucks and
utility vehicles. GMC sells pickup and commercial trucks, buses, vans, military
vehicles, and sport utility vehicles marketed in North America and the Middle
East by General Motors. In January 2007, GMC was GM's second-largest-selling
North American vehicle division after Chevrolet, ahead of Pontiac.
General Motors was founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908, as a holding company for Buick.1 In 1909, GM purchased the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, forming the basis of the General Motors Truck Company, from which the "GMC Truck" brand name was derived. (Rapid was established on December 22, 1901, by Max Grabowsky. The company developed some of the earliest commercial trucks ever designed, and utilized one-cylinder engines.) The Reliance Motor Car Company (another independent manufacturer) was also purchased that same year by GM. Rapid and Reliance were merged in 1911, and in 1912 the marque "GMC Truck" first appeared on vehicles exhibited at the New York International Auto Show. Some 22,000 trucks were produced that year, though GMC's contribution to that total was a mere 372 units. GMC had some currency within GM referring to the corporate parent in general. Later "GMC" would become distinct as a division brand within the corporation, branding trucks and coaches; in contrast, the abbreviation for the overall corporation eventually ended up as "GM".
In 1916, a GMC Truck crossed the country from Seattle to New York City in thirty days, and in 1926, a 2-ton GMC truck was driven from New York to San Francisco in five days and 30 minutes. During the Second World War, GMC Truck produced 600,000 trucks for use by the United States Armed Forces.
In 1925, GM purchased a controlling interest in Yellow Coach, a bus manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois which was founded by John D. Hertz. After purchasing the remaining portion in 1943, GM renamed it GM Truck and Coach Division. The Division manufactured interurban coaches until 1980. Transit bus production ended in May 1987. The Canadian plant (in London, Ontario) produced buses from 1962 until July 1987. GM withdrew from the bus and coach market because of increased competition in the late 1970s and 1980s. Rights to the RTS model were sold to Transportation Manufacturing Corporation, while Motor Coach Industries of Canada purchased the Classic design.2
In 2002, GMC released a book entitled, GMC: The First 100 Years, a complete history of the company.
GMC currently manufactures SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, light-duty trucks, and medium duty trucks. In the past, GMC also produced fire trucks, ambulances, heavy-duty trucks, military vehicles, motorhomes, and transit buses.
GMC and Chevrolet trucks are virtually identical except for the grilles and nameplates, though their differences have varied over the years. While Chevrolet vehicles are sold exclusively at Chevrolet dealerships, GMC light trucks have been made available to Buick and Cadillac dealerships, and separate franchises exist for medium and light-duty models as well. This crossover allowed GM dealers that did not sell Chevrolets to offer full lineups of both cars and trucks by offering GMC's trucks alongside "non-truck" divisions such as the mid-range Pontiac. Between 1962 and 1972, most GMC vehicles were equipped with quad-headlights, while their Chevrolet clones were equipped with dual-headlights. In 1973, with GM¡¯s introduction of the new "rounded line" series trucks, GMC and Chevrolet trucks became even more similar, ending production of GMC¡¯s quad-headlight models, and setting the standard for the Chevrolet/GMC line of trucks for over thirty years. During this period, the companies' sister models (Silverado/Sierra, Blazer/Jimmy, Tahoe/Yukon, etc.) shared everything except for trims and prices. GM has recently begun a divergence in design between the two lines with the 2007 model Silverados and Sierras, which have some differences in sheet metal and style. Download