Buick offers 2-year lease, with goodies
DETROIT -- General Motors said last week that Buick's new 24-month leases are an effort to boost the brand's lease penetration to the levels of luxury-brand rivals.
Until last week, the shortest Buick lease term was 36 months.
Buick said the "Experience Buick" lease program includes scheduled maintenance, Sirius XM radio and OnStar for the full term of the lease. Typically, customers get satellite radio for three months and OnStar for six months before additional charges apply.
Buick executives hope that the short lease term offered through Ally Financial, coupled with the freebies, will entice luxury buyers who might not otherwise consider the brand.
"It's really a call to action to consumers to come in and experience what Buick has to offer from the standpoint of great product and great customer treatment," Buick marketing chief Tony DiSalle said in an interview.
DiSalle said leases accounted for 24 percent of Buick's sales last year. That's up from past years but still trails most luxury brands, some of which have lease penetration rates that exceed 50 percent.
Brian Sweeney, vice president of Buick-GMC sales and service, said the program also seeks to improve customer retention by driving service business to dealers.
Mike Bowsher, owner of three Buick-GMC stores in the Southeast and co-chairman of the Buick-GMC National Dealer Council, said dealers are eager to beef up their lease business.
"All of our competitors have strong lease penetration," Bowsher said. "This will allow a luxury buyer to experience Buick for a short period of time with all of the GM wares that go with it."
The maintenance coverage includes oil changes and tire rotations.
After two years of strong sales growth, Buick sales have declined in each of the last five months. In 2011, Buick sales rose 14 percent to 177,663 units.
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