The History of GMC Vehicles | Mark Christopher Auto Center
History of GMC
Originally founded in 1911, GMC has been a trusted brand in the way of larger sized vehicles for over 100 years. The company is formally known as a subdivision of the General Motors of North America Brand that primarily produces SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and light-duty trucks. Although these are their primary industry, the brand has also catered to more niche needs such as firetrucks, motorhomes, military vehicles, transit busses, and more. GMC holds an extensive and decorated history among other automotive giants in North America, and today continues to excel at serving a very specific market.
GMC motors saw its original beginnings with the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in Pontiac Michigan. The company was owned by two brothers and built some of the nation’s first one-ton trucks. The company was fairly successful, with their truck to be the first to conquer ‘Pike’s Peak’ in a road competition in 1909. In that same year, they were acquired by General Motors by primary shareholder William Durant, who had founded the General Motors Holding Company only a year prior. In 1911, the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company was rebranded as the General Motors Truck Company which was soon to be known simply as GMC.
Durant was a major pioneer of the automotive industry, but got his beginnings in the horse-drawn carriage industry. By 1890, he had become the Nation’s largest manufacturer of carriages. As the automotive industry began to develop in the United States, William Durant seized the opportunity of this widely unknown emerging market by initially purchasing Buick, which back then was a smaller local company. Within the next few years, he founded the General Motors Holding Company and began to work on acquiring many local car companies to be held under the singular parent company of General Motors.
Over the years, GMC began to carve out a name for itself as a highly successful truck company and was able to provide a wide array of vehicles very early on. This was aided by the 1920 decision to share platforms with the vehicle company Chevrolet, the primary difference being that GMC vehicles were marketed for commercial use, and Chevrolet geared towards private use. By the 1940’s, GMC already had several lines of vehicles including the P-series highway coach bus, the A-Series medium duty truck, and the T, AC, C, and E series light duty trucks. During World War II, GMC produced over 600,000 military vehicles for use by the United States Armed Forces.
The 1960s-1980s saw a huge boom in models for GMC. They had a hand in nearly everything, from motorhomes to minivans, to smaller, more practical buses, and then finally a more modern and functional SUV. Although many of them have since been discontinued, several that originated from the 1990’s are still seen on the company’s manufacturing lines. Today, you can still see GMC vehicles such as the Savana commercial van, the Yukon and Yukon XL, the Terrain, The Acadia, and more. The future has a lot in store for the GMC company as they move towards better technology and higher efficiency vehicles.