Sibling dealers Will and Corrie Churchill, who own Frank Kent Motor Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, began their promotion last week and will offer it to the first 100 customers "because this is GM’s 100-year anniversary," Will Churchill said.
But the stock offer is more than an anniversary celebration.
The Churchills bought 5,000 shares of GM stock at the end of last week to begin the promotion while GM’s stock price was low. The gift was worth $321 today at GM’s closing stock price of $6.43, and the Churchills hope to give customers a return on their investment.
“Typically when a customer buys a car and they go to trade it in in two or three years, it has depreciated,” Will Churchill said. “Hopefully in two or three years,” GM stock “will probably be worth more.”
Four customers have taken advantage of the deal, citing the stock gift as a deciding factor, he said. The Churchills hope more will follow. The dealership typically sells 80 vehicles in a 15-day period.
Britt and Mary Lambert, of Springtown, Texas, had considered buying a new vehicle for about a year. This week, they bought a GMC Acadia crossover under the Churchills’ promotion because of the stock offer, Mary Lambert said.
“Somebody wants to give me stock, I’ll take it,” she said. “I have faith in the stock market. And even if we lose money, it’s not going to cost us anything.”
She said she wished more dealers offered creative incentives like the stock offer.
“Everybody’s so afraid to buy something right now,” she said. “Incentives like that would help people go out and buy something.”
Will Churchill, 32, is no stranger to creativity. The dealer, with Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Hummer, Cadillac, Dodge and Honda franchises, was an Automotive News Innovative Dealer in 2003 for his stand-alone auto accessory business.