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The Meaning Behind the Names of GMC’s Vehicles

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The 2017 GMC Canyon has a starting MSRP of less than $21,000

There’s a reason behind each of the rugged names GMC’s vehicles possess

When talking about both GM and its subbrand GMC, it can often become difficult to distinguish between the two, due to the similarity of their acronyms. However, while GM stands for “General Motors,” GMC stands for “General Motors Truck Company,” highlighting the brand’s emphasis on utility vehicle and truck models.

Despite the enigma that GMC’s own name presents, the origins of the nameplates carried by some of the its models can be even more mysterious. However, when examined, it becomes clear that each GMC vehicle is named as such for a reason.

To discover that reason, we’ll both examine and decipher the meanings behind GMC’s vehicles.

Updates from GMC: 2018 GMC Yukon Denali updates

Terrain Although the Terrain might be the smallest SUV in the GMC lineup, it’s still tough enough to tackle nearly any terrain, hence its name. In its simplest definition, a terrain is any stretch of land defined by its physical features.
Acadia The record sales that the Acadia has experienced so far in 2017 will likely continue well into winter, as the Acadia is an ideal vehicle to have when snow and ice coat the ground. The model’s name reflects its abilities, as Acadia was a colonial territory in what is now Canada and Maine during the 17th and early 18th centuries, an area where the winters could become rather cruel.
Yukon The Acadia isn’t the only GMC model named after an area in Canada. Yukon is a Canadian territory that borders the state of Alaska. You have to be pretty tough to call the Yukon territory your home, almost as tough as the GMC Yukon.
Canyon The GMC Canyon is the brand’s counterpart to the Chevrolet Colorado. Both compact trucks are popular choices for off-roading in rugged terrains. While the Colorado gets its name from one of the states near the Southwestern portion of the United States, the Canyon derives its title from one of the geographic features commonly found in the Southwest.
Sierra Easily the most popular GMC model, the Sierra has been a mainstay of the brand for years. Its off-roading capabilities match those possessed by its cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado. As for its name, a sierra is defined as “a long, jagged mountain chain.” With its incredible capabilities, the GMC Sierra might even be able to climb such a mountain chain.
Savana While not as famous as the other models in the GMC lineup, the Savana commercial van plays an equally important role. The name “Savana” seems to be a corruption of the word “savanna,” a grassy plain in the tropical regions of the planet. Since the vehicle is a “van” and not a “vann,” GMC appears to have dropped an “n” from the commercial model’s name.
Denali The Denali line is GMC’s collection of premium models, a trim that can be added to any of the brand’s vehicles, with the exception of its commercial models. Denali is the name of the highest peak in North America, located in southern Alaska. For a time, Denali was known as Mount McKinley, named in honor of President William McKinley. However, it recently regained to its original name, the Koyukon word for “high” or “tall.”

Learn More About GM: 7 fun facts about GM