GM offers two years' free maintenance to GMC Sierra buyers
DETROIT — GMC is launching a free-maintenance promotion for Sierra pickup buyers with an advertising campaign that kicks off this weekend.
The 24-month scheduled-maintenance coverage, called Pro Grade Protection, is an effort by General Motors to enhance GMC’s premium image and stoke demand for outgoing 2013 Sierra models, which will be replaced by a redesigned truck in the second quarter.
The deal includes free oil changes, oil-filter replacements, tire rotations and vehicle inspections for two years or 24,000 miles. It will be standard on the purchase or lease of any 2013 Sierra 1500 sold during February.
GM views February as a test period for the promotion and could extend it if it’s successful, said Brian Sweeney, vice president of sales and service for Buick-GMC. Commercials will run nationally this weekend during various sports programs, possibly including pre- or post-Super Bowl coverage, he said.
The Pro Grade moniker is a nod to GMC’s “Professional Grade” marketing tagline and is a bid to differentiate the Sierra, which GM positions as a more premium offering than its corporate sibling, the Chevrolet Silverado.
Selling down inventory
Sweeney said the promotion will help fuel demand as GM tries to sell down its ’13 Sierra stocks ahead of the changeover to a next-generation pickup by early summer.
He said the program also signals how serious GM is about offering buyers “class-leading” coverage and service to set Sierra apart from rivals. He didn’t rule out extending the program to the 2014 models.
“This makes sense from a differentiation standpoint and where we’re headed with our new truck,” Sweeney told Automotive News. “We think this gives Sierra buyers the best pickup coverage ever.”
He said marketing of the Pro Grade promotion also will tout the Sierra’s five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Combined with two years of free maintenance, it represents “the best pickup coverage in the industry,” Sweeney says.
Toyota offers a similar free-maintenance package on its Tundra pickup. Its powertrain warranty is five years or 60,000 miles.
Sierra sales rose 5 percent last year, to 157,185 units, No. 4 among full-sized pickups behind Ford’s F-series, the Silverado and Chrysler’s Ram pickup.
The promotion is similar to one Buick-GMC dealers rolled out last spring that offers free scheduled maintenance, along with OnStar and SiriusXM satellite radio, on 24-month leases. That program, which is ongoing, helped Buick boost its lease penetration to one-third of sales last year, from 23 percent in 2011.
Sierr’s Pro Grade program “can set us apart as the premium truck in what is a really competitive segment,” says Mike Bowsher, dealer principal of two Buick-GMC stores in Georgia and one in Florida and co-chairman of the Buick-GMC National Dealer Council.
Bowsher adds that included maintenance should serve as a strong customer retention tool.
He said: “This will keep customers coming back to you over and over.”
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