This question comes up a lot, and that makes sense as automotive acronyms are a murky business. GMC, the General Motors Company, does not own Chevy, but there’s a reason a lot of people believe that. The owner of both GMC and Chevy is GM, General Motors. As you can see, that "C" in GMC is the source of all of this confusion. That being said, there’s a bit more to the interrelationships of these companies than you might expect.
GMC or GM: Who Owns Whom?
Just to reiterate, GMC does not own Chevy, but GM does. However, what’s the difference between GMC and GM? Well, GMC
is one of the car companies underneath the GM name. The other car companies under the same corporate umbrella are
Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Buick. When Pontiac and Saturn were still around, they were both under the patronage of GM
as well, and both Hummer and Saab were before they were sold off. This isn’t anything new, as nearly every major player in the auto industry has its own respective web of car brands. In the United States, Ford owns Lincoln,
and Fiat Chrysler owns Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler to name a few.
GM has historically only been a holding company for a variety of other auto manufacturers. Since 1908, GM has
grown significantly, owning at various points an impressive variety of auto manufacturers. There hasn't ever been an American production car to bear the GM name with the exception of the GM EV-1, an early electric vehicle that faced an unfortunate end. Besides that, GM has left the actual production of cars to their subsidiaries, like GMC and Chevy.
This question wouldn't be nearly as common if GMC didn't share two-thirds of their letters with their
parent company. But, that's for good reason because GMC does stand for General Motors Company, as opposed to the
more general General Motors.
How are GMC and Chevy Related?
There are more reasons this confusion is valid. Before each brand under GM ownership became as specialized as they are
today, there was plenty of overlap between the two brands. For a while, the truck platforms used for Chevy were basically copied onto the GMC platform. For example, the Chevy Silverado’s doppelganger is the GMC Sierra. They aren’t exactly the same, but they are similar enough to draw comparisons. The only real difference between the two has to do with interior amenities and the allure of either truck’s brand. Both have the same 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine which makes the exact same horsepower and torque. That being said, the Sierra costs around $1,000 more than its Chevy brethren. The true difference between the two is the designs of their front ends and the quality of materials in the interior which is much higher end on the Sierra. In a sense, the relationship between GMC and Chevy is a more apparent version of the relationship between Ford and Lincoln. Thankfully, that means that the aftermarket can do double duty making parts for both types of trucks, as they are completely cross-compatible.
This relationship between GMC and Chevy has fused these two companies together in the minds of many
truck enthusiasts for a long time. That may change now that GMC is more focused on SUVs and trucks, while Chevy is an all-around auto manufacturer,
making a number of compact and electric vehicles.
Sources: Consumer Reports | General Motors Image Credit: Mike Mozart | MaxPixel | AutoBlog | Wikimedia