GMC Sierra finds new buyers thanks to diesel engine option

Sierra AT4 buyers are totally digging diesel power.


Emme Hall/Roadshow

When General Motors revamped its GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickups, it included a big powertrain change: an optional diesel engine. The 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel was a totally new venture, but it appears the gamble is paying off.

According to a new survey conducted by GMC, as reported by Automotive News on Monday, more than two-thirds of Sierra buyers were new to diesel engines, but the better finding for the automaker is the fact half of them were new to the GMC brand. The diesel engine is doing a pretty solid job at “conquesting” customers.

A survey on the engine showed many owners actually considered the diesel power a bragging right when it comes to how quiet it is, and 96% said they were satisfied with the engine’s sound. Diesel engines have a reputation as clacky and unpleasant sounding things. Best of all, it’s rated to return up to 26 miles per gallon combined.

Demand for the diesel engine is up 15% for AT4 and Denali buyers, Phil Brook, vice president of marketing for GMC, told AN, and he added the take rate hovers at 10% today. A 20% take rate goal won’t happen overnight, as GMC works to “get a bit more awareness out there” surrounding the oil burner. GMC did not immediately return a request for additional information on the statistics.

Diesel engines for light-duty pickups have suddenly become a more hotly contested segment as automakers work to meet fuel economy regulations. Both Ram and Ford also offer their own diesel engines for the 1500 and F-150, respectively. GMC and Chevy rolled their own diesel engine out shortly after its current-generation pickups debuted. Clearly, truck buyers like this turn of events. At a minimum, those buying GMC Sierra pickups do.


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Off-roading with the 2019 GMC Sierra AT4



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