Buy a GMC Sierra, get 2 years of maintenance
DETROIT -- General Motors is including scheduled maintenance in the GMC Sierra's price this month in an effort to burnish the brand's premium image and stand out in the full-sized pickup market.
The coverage, known as Pro Grade Protection, includes oil changes, oil-filter replacements, tire rotations and vehicle inspections for two years or 24,000 miles. It will be standard on any 2013 Sierra 1500 sold or leased during February and is transferrable between owners.
GM could extend the promotion if it is successful, said Brian Sweeney, vice president of sales and service for Buick-GMC.
The Pro Grade moniker is a nod to GMC's "Professional Grade" marketing tag line and is a bid to differentiate the Sierra, which GM positions as a premium offering, from its corporate sibling, the Chevrolet Silverado.
Sweeney said the promotion will help fuel demand as GM tries to sell down 2013 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. "There's a lot of noise out there with fuel economy wars and torque wars. We think this gives Sierra buyers the best pickup coverage ever."
He said marketing of the promotion also will stress the Sierra's five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.
Toyota offers a similar free-maintenance package on its Tundra pickup. Its powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles.
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, said, "Something like this can set us apart as the premium brand in what is a really competitive segment."
He added that including maintenance should be a strong customer-retention tool: "This will keep customers coming back to you over and over."
Sierra sales rose 5 percent last year to 157,185 units. It was No. 4 among full-sized pickups behind Ford's F series, the Silverado and Chrysler Group's Ram pickup.
You can reach Mike Colias at email@example.com.