Buick: Loaners boost sales
LAS VEGAS -- General Motors wants Buick-GMC dealers to offer courtesy loaner vehicles and is considering new advertising standards as ways to move the brands up the premium scale, executives told dealers at the make meeting.
GM is gunning for about 15 percent sales growth this year for both Buick and GMC, according to several dealers who attended the make meeting. Last year, Buick sales rose 14 percent to 177,633, while GMC sales grew 19 percent to 397,973. Brian Sweeney, Buick-GMC's vice president of sales and service, and Tony DiSalle, the brands' vice president of marketing, addressed the dealers.
Last year Buick-GMC dealers who offered courtesy loaner vehicles had 19 percent sales growth on average, compared with 10 percent growth for dealers who didn't offer the service.
Steve Cappellino, a Buick-GMC dealer in Williamsville, N.Y., said he started a courtesy transportation service about a year ago. He plans to increase loaner availability to about nine vehicles, up from four or five, and sees the program as a way to compete with rival brands.
"We are really in a transition phase in terms of how we look at the market and how we present the Buick brand to our customers," Cappellino said after the meeting. He sold about 900 new Buicks last year.
Growth for Buick this year should come from sales of the new Verano compact sedan, which was launched in December, and the new Regal GS performance sedan that arrived last autumn.
Brand executives urged dealers to position the Regal as the "athlete" of the Buick lineup to differentiate it from the Verano. Some dealers have said that the two cars are too similar in price and size.
GMC dealers expect to get their first look at the redesigned GMC Sierra full-sized pickup at a meeting here in the fall, several dealers said. GM is expected to launch the next-generation Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado in the first half of 2013.
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