Are Chevy and GMC the Same Thing? A Buyer’s Comparison

Sometimes it can feel like the whole automotive industry is producing the same vehicles, but there are differences between brands and the companies that produce them. 

But in particular, Chevy and General Motors truck companies have long been under the question: are they the same?

Chevy and GMC have long been confused for being the same brand, or partners to each other. Let’s talk about that and clear up the questions you may have.

So, are Chevy and GMC the same thing? The short answer is no, they are not. But at the same time, yes, they are.

Let’s try to get some clarity on this paradox of branding.

Chevrolet and GMC are two different brands, each with a different range and span of vehicles and products. However, some of their vehicles are the same mechanically, with different features added on or taken away to fit each brand.

Additionally, Chevrolet (Chevy) and General Motors Truck Company (GMC) do share the same parent company, which is General Motors (GM), and so they share similar aspects to manufacturing, marketing, and company policy.

You might be thinking at this point, “How do I tell Chevy and GMC apart? Which vehicle is right for me?”

If that sounds like you, then just read on. All the minute details of the similarities and differences will become clear soon.

What is the Difference Between a GMC and Chevy?

Since they have the same parent company, they have many similarities. Beyond those technological similarities, what sets Chevy and GMC apart from each other are the types of vehicles they sell. 

General Motors Truck Company is a branch of General Motors that is used exclusively for the production of pick-up trucks, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and vans. 

Chevy is also a branch of General Motors that produces the same vehicles as GMC, but, has additional vehicles that make it different from the General Motors Truck Company range of products.

For example, Chevy also produces trucks, pick-ups, vans, SUVs, and crossovers but also includes sedans and compact and subcompact cars.

In the GM line of car production and sales, Chevy leads the list with General Motors truck Company coming in second place, right below it. 

General Motors is also the parent company of both Buick and Cadillac, which are considered luxury brands. General Motors truck Company and Chevy are not considered luxury car manufacturers, but functional ones. 

Chevy can credit its high position on the list of high-selling GM brands due to its wider range of products, its affordability when compared to the other vehicles in the GM family, and its durability.

The similarities shine through the most in their trucks and SUVs, since they are essentially the same hardware, programming, and technology in but different casings.

There are some hardware differences, but they are mostly in the features that come standard in each vehicle.

The main differences in these trucks and SUVs are mostly cosmetic, and not in performance, build, or strength. 

Some may argue that General Motors truck Company is a better truck brand than Chevy, but in the long haul, they are the majority the same on the inside, save a few disparities. 

Historical Differences

Both Chevy and GMC have been on the market for decades now and historically have had different cosmetic appearances that set them apart from each other. 

In the 1960s, Chevy used dual-headlights on their vehicles while GMC was equipped with quad-headlights.

This ended in 1973 when General Motors truck Company switched over to dual-headlights, making the two brands appear even more similar to each other.

Is GMC Nicer Than Chevy?

Since General Motors truck Company and Chevy are very similar at a functioning level and aesthetics are dependent on personal opinion, it is hard to say if GMC is nicer than Chevy.

However, Chevy trucks are considered to be “entry-level” trucks, or for people who need a truck, but do not need a vehicle that can do a crazy number of things or comes with too many standard features. 

Essentially, Chevy trucks are considered simple and better for people who need a truck sometimes, but not daily.

General Motors truck Company, on the other hand, is considered a better truck manufacturer for those who are seeking a tougher machine with more standard features than a Chevy.

General Motors truck Company is also considered a professional brand, rather than a brand for the masses like Chevy.

So, yes, General Motors truck Company and Chevy function in a similar way, besides those features. 

But a lot of what makes a vehicle “nice” to any individual is based on personal preference and what they need to feel like their vehicle is functioning correctly and aesthetically pleasing. 

Both Chevy and General Motors truck Company have smaller details like grills, bumpers, emblems, interior designs, and other little things that do not affect the performance of the truck that are different from the other brand. 

Another thing General Motors truck Company has going for it is the fact that GMC outsells Chevy in trucks. 

Chevy does sell more than General Motor truck Company in total, however, when it is boiled down to what GMC does, General Motors truck Company sells better than Chevy. 

This difference in sales and profits may be because Chevy trucks do not have the same number of standard features as GMC trucks, or because General Motors truck Company is known for exclusively selling trucks and vans that are made for professional workers.

GMC trucks and vans are also a bit more expensive than the Chevy line of trucks and vans, because GMC trucks come with more standard features, and have the title of “professional” in most of their advertising tactics. 

The reputation of each brand is different, which means that their sales are different, and so are the way the vehicles are advertised and marketed as well.

Why Do Chevy and GMC Make the Same Vehicles? 

Chevy and General Motors truck companies make essentially the same vehicles, but sell them to different groups of people.

But why do they do this? As usual, it boils down to cost!

The manufacturing cost of producing one car and then adding little differences is much cheaper than creating two different cars for two brands that are already very similar.

It is much cheaper for the parent company that owns them, General Motors, to create one truck and then spice up that truck in different ways, specific ways for each brand.

When one truck or van is made, both the exterior and interior can be designed differently to create the illusion of a substantial difference between the two brands, even when the mechanics are the same.

Another way they create the illusion of difference is through “standard features.” 

Where Chevy comes with fewer standard features, (meaning if you want a specific thing, you have to pay extra for it) General Motors truck Company comes with many more that come with the truck, straight off the lot. 

Marketing and advertising strategies are also used by both companies to try to distance the trucks from each other. 

Chevy is more than just a truck and van manufacturer like General Motors truck Company is. 

Chevy produces mainly cars and trucks that the average person would need, with nothing too extravagant or powerful.

So Chevy has advertisements that are aimed for the masses, with nothing specific about work or professional life. These are the kinds of people that would purchase a Chevy truck.

General Motor truck Company, however, produces vehicles that are made for professional users and the advertisements and marketing are aimed at these professionals. 

Possible customers see that General Motors truck Company is for professionals and takes steps to try and purchase those trucks and vans over the Chevy trucks which are “for everyday people.”

You may still be scratching your head wondering, “Why? Why not just combine the brands to create a super-brand that covers all trucks, vans, and cars? Why take the time to do this?”

The answer is simple. 

And of course, like with most large companies and corporations, it is profit.

By keeping the brands close enough to each other to be competitors, it forces truck and car owners to pick a side and stick to it.

Keeping the competition alive helps fuel sales and brings in new customers, too.

Geographically, a General Motors truck Company vehicle might be considered popular and Chevy, not so much. But on the other side of the nation, Chevy might be the cool car to drive.

By establishing two dominant brands, GM doubles its chance of profit.

However, sometimes it feels like the General Motors truck Company and Chevy jig is up. Like everyone knows that they are the same mechanics and technology with different advertising and paint jobs.

Another way to look at the situation is that it is like a set of twins. You can put the twins in matching clothes, and everyone sees how similar they are. If you put them in different outfits, they’ll look different. But their DNA is still the same as the others.

When all is said and done, they are the same, yet different. 

Hi, I'm the founder of VehicleAnswers.com! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!