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GMC Granite concept's production fate hinges on door feasibility

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Filed under: Concept Cars, Crossover, Hatchback, GMC

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GMC Granite concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

The compact-sized Granite crossover concept shown by GMC at the Detroit Auto Show proved extremely popular with attendees, and the "Professional Grade" division at GM really wants to put it in production. According to new GMC product marketing director, Lisa Hutchinson, the main stumbling block right now is figuring out how to build the doors. The Granite featured the same rear hinged back doors that are commonly used on concepts to show off the interior.

The goal is to retain the door design for production to maximize access to the rear seat. However, the doors will have to be engineered so that the car can pass side impact safety requirements, an extremely difficult task without a fixed B-pillar, especially on such a small vehicle. The engineering feat has been managed before, as seen on the Mazda RX-8 and Honda Element, but the rear doors on the concept Granite would appear to require a larger opening than the demi-doors on either of the two Japanese offerings, making engineering significantly tougher. Of course, GM could still build the model with a hidden pillar à la Opel's 2011 Meriva, but that might compromise some of its appeal, or its utility if they can manage to build it with the concept's trick folding seats. In any case, GMC itself has shown that it can build rear-hinged doors, as it already has the Sierra extended-cab pickup, but that vehicle's body-on-frame architecture and less weight-sensitive construction could make that an easier manufacturing feat.

At this point, the fate of the Granite remains up in the air.






GMC Granite concept's production fate hinges on door feasibility originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Jun 2010 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sure it'd be perfect to have it without a b-pillar, but I don't think that adding that, like on the Opel Meriva, would kill this car's utility and make it useless.

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The 3 door Saturn SC2s actually fared better in side impact tests than the 2dr models. Build the door right and it's not an issue. Body stiffness apparently can be an issue, as I've heard a couple people complain about it with Ion Quad Coupes, but that should be less of an issue on this vehicle, which is less likely to be driven in a sporty manner, or at least have lower expectations in that regard. Still, proper bracing could surely minimize that issue with the design also.

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I hope GM invests as much time and effort as possible to try and get this to work. The Granite is a really cool vehicle, and they could make one hell of a splash in the category if they do it right.

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They should just stick w/ conventional doors than waste time on this.

thank you for stating the most common sense position on this. make em sliders or conventional doors. no one wants doors like this. nice for a show car. all these sort of doors does is piss off people.

Granite is prob why the orlando was killed.

granite and orlando could sell in ok numbers in the market if they don't screw em up. likewise, i am not sure people will notice if they never come to market.

Edited by regfootball
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Honda does it w/ the Element. Toyota w/ the FJ Cruiser. It's doable.

Their doors are a lot smaller.

Well, IIRC, The Element, Saturn Quadcoupe and FJ Cruiser all require the front door to be open in order for the rear door to be opened. Looking at the latch setup in the Granite (top and bottom), it looks like having the rear doors open independent of the fronts is the goal... like the Meriva.

That said, to pass side impact requirements in this era of cars that automatically lock, why not have a third latch/bolt that interlocks the car doors when the vehicle is in D and/or moving above X mph? Then the latch/bolt automatically unlocks if a person pulls the inside door latch. This latch/bolt would be tied into both doors' top to bottom brace and the side impact bracing... effectively eliminating the need for the pillar... assuming the rest of the structure is sturdy enough.

I imagine that the public would want some sort of automatic locking to accept this modern "suicide" door, anyway.

I like the idea of a pillarless 4 door, as most of my difficulty in ingress/egress into the rear door involves severe pillar/leg interference (The rest of my difficulty involves head/roofline interference and usually one difficulty occurs avoiding the other...).

That said, I have ridden in the rear of a suicide door equipped Lincoln several times... I'm not sure that I feel rear suicide doors help ingress/egress that much... but I am so attuned to conventional doors, that my technique may have been lacking.

Edited by SAmadei

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no one wants doors like this.

Posts in this very thread prove that statement wrong. There's a difference between you not wanting something, some or many people not wanting something, and no one wanting something.

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Gee why not make it a hard top as it is so easy and cheap I been told by some..... :rolleyes:

Hey if they can do it fine if not just do a normal sliding or opening door with a b pillar. This is a good vehicle and Scion and Nissan are doing fine with the normal doors. The bottom line don't make this with a door that will be a problem for owner a few years later like the slat folding roof on the G6.

They need to do this truck and use the best option for long term quality.

There are cases where this door is as much of a pain as good. Both doors open in a parking lot can just make the people dance around each other and the doors to get out. Some times the extended cab doors are as much as a pain as they are a help. Many times I would have been happy with a post just to open the rear door with out the front.

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That said, I have ridden in the rear of a suicide door equipped Lincoln several times... I'm not sure that I feel rear suicide doors help ingress/egress that much...

exactly. it actually hinders it in instances like 4 or 5 people trying to get out of the vehicle while going to lunch.

Posts in this very thread prove that statement wrong. There's a difference between you not wanting something, some or many people not wanting something, and no one wanting something.

this is an instance of what is probably a niche product, that can't afford to 'the one thing' that gives people cause to NOT buy the vehicle.....

the main functional reason you'd want doors like that is side of the vehicle cargo access. problem is, in no other way does this vehicle say 'i'm functional' to a superlative level like having a completely huge interior with a flat low floor like a transit, or an element. If you could fold the front seat back forward and have a flat low floor behind it, then you put long items in the side and not have to move them around a pillar.

usually aside from the previously mentioned 'if the front door has to open or close dependent on the rear / vice versa' usually the confusion by all the vehicle passengers in a tight parking space trying to use the same area on the side of the car to get in and out would be the big functional dysfunction. Now, mom carrying infant in a carrier. In theory one might think it easier to stand between the two doors, in the same space, open the back door, situate the kid, then close it and be right there to open your front door. That will be the sort of thing they will have to test and think about.

GM has the orlando with an underpowered engine, that chinese buick minivan with a horrendous interior, the granite with the weird door, and the meriva which is far too euro, and i'll be damned if none of any of those four aren't compromised to the american market in some way.

maybe what they should have done instead of spending all the cash developing all four of those vehicles was to develop one class leading minivan that could sell big on GM's home turf.

"cool vehicle"!

"yeah, I don't like those doors though, they're kinda weird. I'm not sure I'd like that, and I'd have the car for a few years"

"yeah, what if its annoying"

"who knows, you know that xxxxx xxxxxx is a pretty nice and has lots of cargo and doesn't have these doors"

really if they are going to work super hard to get this to work, then make the rear door a slider too.

otherwise, don't waste the money, spend the money on more horespower, or tightening up the handling and brakes.

Edited by regfootball

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Ok if the doors don't work they have options.

The Short rear door ala Element.

A slider.

A normal rear door that can open 90 degress or more like s rear van door.

I think all of these would give the vehicle the ability to carry most loads. My HHR is not really a problem with the small normal rear doors. It is not like it is a Suburban and so large front loading is an issue. Same the the GMC. I one was to lean forward you can nearly touch the front seat.

It all comes down to who inside GM wants this and how bad they want it. I just hope they don't build it with some weird door that gets loose and makes noise after 10,000 miles.

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XB, soul, have normal doors. no need to try to get funny. Element would sell better if it had traditional doors and pull out seats.

the element does have a new dog package that actually probably make a few sales for the vehicle.

Edited by regfootball

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XB, soul, have normal doors. no need to try to get funny. Element would sell better if it had traditional doors and pull out seats.

the element does have a new dog package that actually probably make a few sales for the vehicle.

GM here is trying to create a segment or a unique product. It is more than a sedan with coupe styling, it is the utility which younger generation seeks. Engineering options as suggested by Samadai should be looked at rather being part of the herd as you are suggesting.

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XB, soul, have normal doors. no need to try to get funny. Element would sell better if it had traditional doors and pull out seats.

the element does have a new dog package that actually probably make a few sales for the vehicle.

The XB and Soul do well and the HHR average near 100,000 units a year with normal doors.

As for the dog package I could see a few sales but enough for a option package. My dog could care less as he wants to drive not ride in back and he can Jump near 5 feet in the air for a frisbie so no need for a ramp.

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dog ramp is overkill.

if the granite comes to light, its big differentiator or reason to be in the market will be styling.

the best way to further distinguish itself from its competition after that will be performance and quality.

Let's put it this way, suicide doors will not add sales potential for this vehicle.

If the styling price features and performance and packaging are correct, it will sell the same either way. Suicide doors are not a feature anyone in the market is seeking out.

My old aztek had a pretty damn handy clamshell rear hatch which was clever but I grew to dislike over time. It had a handy cooler between the front seats which would have been better used as a console and storage. I could get a tent over it (literally) but all that INNOVATION didn't help the overall deficiencies elsewhere in the product.

As hyper said, the HHR sold 100k with typical doors (although many of those fleet).

Granite in any shape or form will be lucky to sell 25,000 copies.

I challenge anyone to tell me what the exact functional advantage of the suicide door / no pillar is .........how is the passenger seating and comfort or cargo hauling ability enhanced noticeably such to offset its added expense with the suicide door and no pillar?

Edited by regfootball

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if the granite comes to light, its big differentiator or reason to be in the market will be styling.

the best way to further distinguish itself from its competition after that will be performance and quality.

Let's put it this way, suicide doors will not add sales potential for this vehicle.

Agreed! If GM really wants it to have rear hinged doors, they have the Opel Meriva platform ready to use. It has a B-Pillar, but it would offer the visual effect of the rear hinged doors anyway.

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I have already read the Opel door is not all that great.

The only reason for this door is a loading option. If anything they could do like the Mini Clubman and use it on the curb side only. It would give better support to the vehicle.

The Soul is doing great and it is even poor on storeage.

Make modern, cool and sporty with some room to load from the back and it will sell.

Oh yes keep it priced under a Mini.

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So long as the forward door does not have to be opened first before the rear door, I think it's worth keeping the suicide door idea. To hell with the argument of whether or not to throw in a hidden B-pillar and just do it.

HOWEVER, if that forward door has to be opened first before one can open the rear door, I always HATED that! Consider the pickup with rear doors to the extended cab. When in a parking lot and I had to get the kids' bucket-carrier in the back, the whole door opening gong show was like watching a Benny Hill sequence with Yakity Sax in the background, made especially worse when space was limited and you had to worry about one of the doors hitting the vehicle next to you.

Someone tell me the rear door can open independently. If not, I wouldn't buy it.

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I have already read the Opel door is not all that great.

The only reason for this door is a loading option. If anything they could do like the Mini Clubman and use it on the curb side only. It would give better support to the vehicle.

The Soul is doing great and it is even poor on storeage.

Make modern, cool and sporty with some room to load from the back and it will sell.

Oh yes keep it priced under a Mini.

suicide door and no pillar makes it easier to load CARGO......from the side. But it makes is tougher to load people, which occurs 98% of the time as opposed to cargo.

And most cargo should be able to be loaded from the rear anyways, so don't screw that up.

Lets use the HHR for example. This year i picked up the xmas tree with the taurusX and put it inside the vehicle which i was able to do because the passenger front seat back folded down forward. THe HHR also does this. I would have been able to get the XMAS tree in the HHR. Pretty awesome for a small car. I am pretty sure 8 foot studs are no prob in the HHR. I can probably get 10 foot boards in my taurus X. POINT being, I can get them in the rear, no real advantage to putting them in the side.

I bought my daughter a new bike a couple weeks back. I had the cobalt. My sons car seat was in the rear. Not sure how, but I wedged the bike into the inside of the cabin of the 4 door and still could drive. If i had a Quad coupe Ion, then it would have been a lot easier (i still would have benefit from extra space by removing the car seat in either case). So tall and long items would easier to get in the vehicle, like for example you could get a bicycle in the Element standing up from the side door probably. But i think you could do it from the back, too.

TV's before flat screen you could never get the box in the cabin of a 4 door if the TV was big. I worked at a best buy and always was LOL at people who bought a new tv and then had to unbox it in the parking lot to get it home. No pillar and suicide door might help with that. But now we have flat screens. WHich is why the rear seat of the Honda fit is cool. the seat bottom flips up and back and you can get the flat screen in there. without the suicide doors. I'd almost rather see GMC do the seat just like Honda's magic seat to able to have that, rather than get rid of the pillar for no reason, and just add weight and complexity and risk warranty issues.

Or have pull out seats like on my Aztek. flip / fold / remove. only thing better was stoandgo. If they could find a way to flip those like the magic seat too, or stow them like the stow and go, that would be far more useful than dinking with the pillar.

Currently the vehicle I am in awe of one of them anyways for packaging is the Transit Connect. Yes it has sliders, but its got a pillar. The floor is FLAT and LOW and there is all that space. ANd yet they can put perfectly comfortable seats back there. Cargo CAPACITY will sell the Granite long before some stupid door gimmick. Make sure the load area is flat and spacious and tall.

If you put a slider on the granite, people will just say, 'why does this vehicle have a slider, GM could have just sold the Orlando'

Edited by regfootball

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Let Chevrolet make a vehicle to chase the sales that are going to the Kia Soul, and other boxes. The GMC Granite needs to go head-on with the Clubman in the 'premium' realm of this segment in order to get customers who are young, wealthy, and live in a condo in the center of the city. 'New' GM needs to be no-holds barred with any product, especially one like this which will change the direction of GMC.

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Here's how I would package the Granite.

NO ALL WHEEL DRIVE. THat is what the Terrain is for.

2 engines.

2.4 SIDI base. 6 speed auto only. this would probably be 70% of what sells.

2.0 turbo optional. 6 speed auto and manual available.

the manual with turbo could be had with lower trim in one build to keep the price affordable. i.e. cloth, etc. otherwise it would maybe come in a couple other builds at a little bit higher price. If you wanted a Granite with cloth and a manual seat, but no leather, no NAV, you could get it that way and still get a turbo.

While a few buyers might be drawn to the Granite with a base engine and manual trans, as a premium vehicle its probably best left to not make the stripper version with a base engine and manual trans. Emphasize performance more with the manual trans. A base automatic Granite should be well equipped out of the box.

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