DETROIT – When Mark Sundberg of Seattle, Wash., made the winning bid for a 2011 GMC Acadia Denali at a charitable auction last year, he had a good idea of what to expect when he took delivery. Sundberg already owned a 2008 Yukon XL Denali.
“Everything about the Denali vehicles are done well,” said Sundberg, who switched from Ford to GMC in 2004. “They’re beautiful, nice to drive, quiet and luxurious, but not gaudy. I like the way they’re laid out on the inside and they have the amenities I want. They’re everything I want in a car.”
Sundberg isn’t alone. In December, car buyers attracted to Denali’s distinctive blend of refined luxury and rugged capability helped GMC achieve its 15th consecutive month of retail sales increases, with sales up 30 percent in 2010. Denali accounted for 13 percent of GMC sales last year, an improvement of 20 percent over 2009, thanks in part to the addition of Sierra Denali HD and Acadia Denali.
“We love our Denali,” said Heather Skelly of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who recently bought a Yukon XL. “I was amazed by how easy it is to drive, considering its size, and I love OnStar and the heated seats and steering wheel.”
Skelly and her husband Mike decided the Yukon XL Denali had “the right amount of nice” for their young family in terms of luxury and amenities. Almost half of all Yukon/XL customers choose Denali. Skelly said she’s also impressed by how well insulated the vehicle is.
Why does Denali resonate with today’s luxury vehicle buyer? Consider its namesake: Denali is the native name for Alaska’s Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America. It means “The Pinnacle.”
“The people who have been coming into our dealership to shop Denali are getting out of Lexus and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. They’ve achieved great success and can drive anything they want,” said Omar Rodriguez, general manager, Carl Black Buick GMC, in Orlando. “To these customers, Denali represents the top of the mountain, the top of the line, but it’s also a great value choice for uncertain times. They can have the luxury they’re accustomed to for thousands of dollars less than the imports.”
Acadia – which recently earned the 2011 Best Resale Value Award from Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com – is the latest GMC model to join the Denali line. Acadia Denali distinguishes itself from other crossovers with unique cues, including a chrome honeycomb grille, monochromatic exterior and 20-inch two-tone chrome-clad wheels.
Among GMC’s best-selling models, Acadia commands the highest conquest rate, with half of its purchasers coming from non-GM brands. After only three months on the market, the high-end model accounts for 20 percent of all Acadia sales.
When auction winner Sundberg arrived at Brotherton Cadillac Buick GMC in Renton, Wash., to pick up his Acadia Denali, he also purchased a 2011 GMC Sierra Denali HD 2500, the first offering of the exclusive Denali line on a heavy-duty GMC pickup. As an avid rider of ATVs and snowmobiles, Sundberg uses the Sierra Denali HD for work and play while his dad enjoys driving his Acadia Denali.
Sierra Denali HD, which went on sale in early summer, offers the power of the new Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel, rated at 397 hp and 765 lb.-ft. of torque – making it the most powerful Duramax ever built. With all-new frames and strong suspensions, Sierra Denali HD’s capability includes a segment-best conventional trailer tow rating of 17,000 lbs. and a fifth-wheel trailer rating up to 21,300 lbs.
”I think you could pull just about anything with the Sierra HD,” Sundberg said. “It’s the best vehicle GMC has built yet. The only time it goes to the shop is for oil changes.”
In addition to its distinctive grille and brushed metal accents, Sierra Denali HD’s interior includes standard power-adjustable pedals, a Bose premium surround audio system and 12-way power seats. Heated steering wheel and heated and cooled leather-appointed seating are available.
Since its launch in March, the Denali version of GMC’s heavy duty pickup has grown to 33 percent of all Sierra 2500HD crew cab sales, more than tripling the expected market penetration. In addition, Sierra customer loyalty improved in 2010 by 16 percent.
“The customers who buy Denali value high quality and premium features, but don’t want to be ostentatious about it,” said Brad Brotherton, the Seattle-area GMC dealer where Sundberg purchased his Denalis. “They can drive their Denali to a construction site, to the ballet, and to a mountain lodge to go skiing – and it’s perfectly suited for all of those activities.”
GMC has built trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry's healthiest brands. Today GMC is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. The new GMC Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks in the market. Innovation and engineering excellence are woven into all GMCs, including the Yukon and Yukon XL and full line of Sierra pickups. Today, GMC is the only manufacturer offering three full-size hybrid trucks. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at www.facebook.com/gmc.