First shown at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, the GMC Granite concept offers a GMC-branded take on the "urban" lifestyle, not unlike the Scion xB or Kia Soul, though it has its unique features, like the suicide rear doors--a feature that will reportedly make it to production.
The latest report comes by way of Motor Trend, which cites a "well-placed source" on the Granite's greenlight, and points to the 2013-2014 model years for its arrival. Actual construction should start toward the end of the 2012 calendar year.
According to our own source, the Granite's approval process was unusual within GM: rather than the typical year of focus-grouping, powerpoint presentations, and market research, the Granite got the nod in a single meeting. That may be a sign of change within GM, and it may or may not be a good thing for the Granite.
The Granite is based on the same basic underpinnings as the Chevrolet Orlando, shown at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, and once thought a possible candidate for U.S. sale. Unlike the stylin' Granite, the Orlando featured much more mundane styling (all four doors opened in the same direction, for Pete's sake!). The Orlando was subsequently canned for U.S. sales, pegged as simply too "blah" for American buyers.
If the Granite keeps its funky style and layout to production, it should escape that sort of criticism. However, being weird just for the sake of weirdness isn't a guarantee of success: Nissan's quirky Cube isn't doing well, despite its off-the-wall looks. The Kia Soul and Scion xB, however, show that offbeat shapes and styles can work in the segment. The question now is: will it work for GMC?