GM is known, perhaps better than any other automaker, for spawning nearly uncountable models from a single platform - including several badge-engineered versions of each. The GMT360 ladder-frame SUV platform created 8 models across 6 marques, produced from 2002-2009. Unlike other platforms, however, the model history indicates that the original plan was for fewer variants. For instance, when Oldsmobile was killed off, the Bravada went along with it after just 3 model years. The Buick Rainier was then put into service for the latter half of GMT360 prodution to replace it. The Saab 9-7X also started production later in the GMT360 life-cycle, possibly as a last-gasp attempt to breath some sales life into the dying brand. There was also an Isuzu version that almost everyone forgets about. What all of this means is that some of these trucklets and rarer than others. Seeing a nearly mint Ascender in a parking lot at work the other day got me thinking: is the Ascender the rarest GMT360 truck in the USA? I see fewer of them than Saab 9-7X’s... but the Ascender started and ended production earlier (2003-2007 vs. 2005-2009) so maybe more of them are already in junkyards. I did some digging to find out, using left-lane.com as my primary tool. I believe their sales totals are well-researched, but caveat emptor. Also, these are US-only sales here.

The delightfully clean Ascender that I spotted at work the other day, pictured between a filthy H2 (this is a good thing actually) and my Forester.

Left-Lane news lists sales by year. That makes finding out sales totals trickier for the model name that was used for both the GMT330 and 360 platforms: the Bravada. Also, the Envoy and Envoy XUV are lumped together despite technically being variations on the platform (the XUV platform is code-named GMT305). So let’s start with the models that were GMT360-only. I am going to lump the long-wheelbase GMT370 variants in with their parent models.

  1. Chevrolet TrailBlazer: 1,547,020 (26,411 of which were SS models with the LS2 motor essentially pulled from the Corvette)
  2. GMC Envoy (including XUV): 684,329
  3. Buick Rainier: 61,833
  4. Isuzu Ascender: 28,530
  5. Chevrolet SSR: 23,479
  6. Saab 9-7X: 11,237

Just from these four, there is a lot to chew on. First, I rarely see Rainiers (though I did see a pink-wrapped on recently), but they actually aren’t all that rare. The Ascender is also less-rare than I thought. I don’t know where they are hiding, but there are almost 30,000 of them out there. I did know that the 9-7X sold in low numbers, but the fact that there were twice as many SSR’s sold is pretty amazing. Also, that’s a ton of TrailBlazers/Envoys compared to everything else - almost makes me wonder why they even bothered making other models than those two from the platform. Interestingly, there are almost as many 6.0L LS2-powered SS Trailblazers running around at Ascenders. Another way to think of that is there are almost as many SSR’s and Trailblazer SS’s, which is interesting to me because I think of the SSR as a much rarer bird, possibly because they are all in garages while the TrailBlazers are out there being used as fast, fuel-inefficient grocery-getters.

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Yes, this pink Buick Rainier exists.

Now for some deeper-digging. According to Automotive News, the XUV was produced for just 18 months and 27,200 were made (despite initial predictions of 30,000/year). This makes the non-XUV sales 657,129. Despite quite a bit of searching, I couldn’t find GMT360-specific sales for the Bravada. I tried looking into recalls, but didn’t find anything that didn’t also include the Envoy. So the best I can do is estimate the 2001 sales mix (the 2002 Bravada hit dealers in February 2001). Based on the number of other GMT360 trucks that were sold in years after production ended, the mix could be anywhere from 10 to 40% of leftover 2001 models mixed in with the new GMT360 2002 models. Let’s just say 25% of the 23,867 sold in 2001 were 2001 models and the rest were 2002's. That puts the GMT360 Bravada sales at an estimated 42,608. Despite that fact that I can’t remember the last time I saw one, this makes it the 4th most popular of the 8 models. So the “final” table is:

  1. TrailBlazer: 1,547,020
  2. Envoy (non-XUV): 657,129
  3. Rainier: 61,833
  4. Bravada: 42,608
  5. Ascender: 28,530
  6. XUV: 27,200
  7. SSR 23,479
  8. 9-7X: 11,237

Most astounding here is that the 2nd-place Envoy sold basically 10x as many as the next-closest platform mate. For fun, I decided to make some graphs that show the sales mix.

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When we graph all 8 models, those other than the TrailBlazer and Envoy barely register.
Even when all 6 of the other models are lumped together, they still sit far behind the big two.
Things get more interesting down in the lowest-produced 6 models. The Rainier and Bravada both were produced in high-enough numbers to not really be collectible and the Ascender and XUV aren’t far behind. Most interesting to me is that the SSR was produced in enough numbers that there really is no need to hoard them like it seemed they were being for a while. The 9-7X is what I would officially call rare at just over 11,000 units in the USA. But despite moving the ignition to the center console and making the dash look like the 9-3, I don’t think it is special enough to really be a collector’s item.

We could do some more here like lump the Bravada and Rainier together, since the Rainier was basically the Bravada successor using the same bodyshell, but it wouldn’t make a huge difference on any of the graphs. So what are big takeaways here? The Ascender is rare, but not as rare as I thought. Also, my neighbor used to have an XUV and I kind of want one some day. They are weird in a useful sort of way. They don’t command much more than $5,000 right now, but are rare enough that finding a good one at a good price may pose a challenge as time goes on for other people into weird bits of GM history.

One last thing - I didn’t expect to see nearly 2.4 million total GMT360 US sales - the platform was more popular than I realized.