GM has been
pondering the mid-size truck problem for a while. Mr. Leach started
his design duties on the Denali XT in 2005, immediately following his
work on the VE Ute.
planning, GM design chief Ed Welburn and key truck executives flew
to Australia to participate face-to-face in brainstorming sessions
that plotted the XT's size, purpose, and style. They also had to create
a business case for the sport truck that made sense.
was not designed in a vacuum," explains Mr. Leach. "Nowadays, we've
got to leverage GM's global resources. We've got to find a production
partner somewhere else in the world for this to be financially doable."
The XT slowly
and deliberately evolved from computer renderings into scale models,
so the right proportions, styling and engineering solutions could be
worked out simultaneously.
of overall packaging, the insides, the suspension geometry, wheelbase,
and roof height - it's all doable. Even the 23-inch wheels," says Mr.
of last year, the Holden team was ready to present the XT to GM's car
czar, Bob Lutz.
Paul Clarke, the man responsible for building the wildly retro Holden
Efijy coupe concept, took charge of creating the lifesize clay model
that would need to knock the socks off Mr. Lutz. It did.
also built the running model and tends to it like a proud father doting
over his kid. He knows its mechanicals inside and out.
GM is saying the GMC Denali XT is going to reach production. It has
to make sense financially, but Crewman-style car-trucks have already
proven to be more popular than originally expected Down Under. Will
American truck buyers adopt the XT as well? If so, we predict we'll
be saying goodbye to body-on-frame small pickups, like the GMC Canyon,
sooner than we think and hello to this Australian-designed hauler.
XT model maker Paul Clarke (pictured at left) and lead designer Warrack
Leach (right) celebrate their American-style Crewman Ute by throwing
on the barbie!