NewSpeak From Detroit: GMC Pitches “Tool For Urban Living”

Granite.jpgNothing represents city life like a miniaturized SUV. Image: NYT

In a turn of phrase straight out of "1984," Detroit is touting a new concept car as a "tool for urban living."

At this week’s Detroit auto show, the industry’s premier showcase, GMC revealed its Granite concept car. The truck and SUV manufacturer, which owes its very existence to government largesse, put forward this subcompact-sized car styled as a full-size SUV as a way to rebrand itself as modern and urban.

GMC seems to equate "urban living" with "parallel parking" —  the Granite would be two feet shorter than GMC’s next-smallest vehicle. It’s no Yukon XL, but the basic big truck aesthetic with its boxy shape and monster grille remains unchanged.

Imagine walking across the street in front of this thing. Imagine being a third-grader walking to school in front of it. Would you even be able to make eye contact with the driver? Not that you’re likely to find out, as "production is a long shot," according to Wheels.

Sadly, New York City once used GMC buses  — real tools for urban living — as part of its transit fleet. The division also sells a brand of bike, each creepily named after one of its SUVs.

  • Lutz

    Rare moment of lucidity by GM’s Bob Lutz. Why regular, planned increases in gas taxes is good for GM and good for America.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/GMs-Lutz-Higher-gas-tax-would-cnnm-3345967947.html?x=0&.v=1

  • J. Mork

    In the future, “urban” and “anti-car” will be synonyms.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Is America ready to move on? Whole communities have died with the auto industry — after years of political deals to “save jobs.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34812704/ns/business-local_business/

  • If I were the ad agency for Hush Puppies (or another shoe brand) I’d adopt the same slogan and use it for mocking both GM and the car-centric landscape. More pedestrian-friendly development means bigger profits for shoe makers!

  • Hey, it seats five, so Larry should be pleased.

  • What does a third-grader think of this? Why not ask the author, since it seems to be written at that level.

    But seriously, the unprofessional slant on articles such as this are a disservice to the high-quality of other Streetsblog articles.

    And what the author apparently failed to consider is the “urban” part also equates to a lower ground clearance, only 2WD, and no towing capabilities — something that GMC typically does not offer. It’s a small concept vehicle with an economical engine.

  • Ian Turner

    That thing is unbelievably ugly.

  • Larry Littlefield

    With two doors, I wouldn’t want to be one of the passengers in the rear.

  • I’m even more blown away to learn that all the automakers are making bikes. Why is that?

  • CY Rider

    Ah, can you say HHR? That one sold real well also! To the rental car agencies.
    This is just another iteration of the delta platform. How is the Orlando any different?
    Its just GM model proliferation getting cranked up again.

  • GMC is desperate at this point.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

BMW: World’s Mega-Cities Need a Mega-Fast Car

|
How perfect is this. The Granite concept car, the Chevy Aveo with a miniaturized SUV snout touted by GMC as a "tool for urban living," has taken top honors in its design category at the Detroit Auto Show. The foundation for BMW’s urban vehicle of the future. Photo: Wheels Alas, while the Granite will probably […]

Are Old-Line Environmentalists Asleep at the Wheel?

|
Dr. Bill takes to NYC’s streets to tell us about cars and global warming Once a month, Environmental Defense, the venerable environmental organization, posts an "Ask Dr. Bill" video to their web site to answer common environmental questions. Dr. Bill is Bill Chameides, ED’s Chief Scientist. This month Dr. Bill takes to the streets to answer common […]

Car Alarm Ruins Otherwise Excellent Meal

|
I had dinner last Saturday with a couple of people at Enzo’s Cafe on Arthur Avenue after a day spent helping prepare the route for the New York City Century bicycle tour, which this year will be sending twice as many people to the Bronx as it has in the past. To enjoy great outside air, we sat on the sidewalk. As one of […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Wooing Suburban Drivers With Cheap Parking: A Losing Strategy for Cities

|
There may be nothing sadder than distressed cities trying to compete with the suburbs by adding more parking spaces. (We’re looking at you, Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo!) Chris McCahill and Norman Garrick recently wrote in Atlantic Cities about the failure of this approach: Cities that attempt to use parking as an economic development strategy actually undermine their […]