I was also a GM tech in a past life. Now I have a leisurely life as a
tech at a local municipality.
I agree with Shiden_Kai. He is correct, and has been giving good advice
on this group for a long time.
I purchased a '99 GMC Jimmy at 1 years old, and 7k miles on it. The
O.E.M. pads lasted 57k miles, with little to no squeal, and they stopped the
truck on a dime. The new pads cost me $75 wholesale at GM. I still get a
discount because I know the people at the dealership. Your price would be
higher for O.E.M. pads.
8 years ago I had an '87 Pontiac Bonneville. I installed some Wagner
brake pads on it. A week later, coming home from work, I was cut off by
another vehicle on an interstate. I mashed the pedal down and the car kept
rolling. My Bonneville didn't have anti-lock brakes. The brakes didn't even
chirp. If I didn't pull onto the shoulder, I would have rear-ended that guy.
I purchased the O.E.M. pads, and man what a difference. The car stopped
on a dime.
In conclusion, ... brake pad compounds vary by manufacturer.
There are 4 things that I deem very important as far as mechanical
safety. Brakes, suspension, steering, and tires. These are the things that
give you dirrectional control and stopping power. If you want to skimp on
these, you take your life, and your family's, into your hands.