Buick-GMC dealers are looking for more leases
Buick-GMC dealers have plenty of reasons for optimism this year.
Buick dealers recently began getting the Encore small crossover, a new nameplate, as well as a reskinned 2013 Enclave large crossover. A redesigned GMC Sierra pickup is scheduled to arrive by early summer.
General Motors wants to help Buick-GMC dealers raise their lease rates and customer retention, says Brian Sweeney, Buick-GMC's vice president of U.S. sales and service.
Last March, GM began a 24-month lease program called Experience Buick, which also includes regular maintenance, OnStar and SiriusXM radio. This month it launched Pro Grade Protection, which includes maintenance in the price of the Sierra pickup.
Sweeney spoke with Staff Reporter Mike Colias.
Buick leasing has picked up quite a bit, right?
Yes. We've doubled lease penetration to 34 percent since we launched Experience Buick on March 15, almost a year ago. That for sure will be a continued platform. We just surveyed 400 of the Experience Buick leasees, and three out of four said that if it weren't for that program, they wouldn't have purchased. That's a pretty strong statement.
What is your lease-penetration target?
Low 40s would be great.
Why is it important for Buick to lease more?
Buick is luxury. I think the luxury segment is in the high 40s. That's certainly where our competition is. We need to be there from a lifecycle and retention standpoint. The Northeast and North Central regions, even though they were very good at leasing, they have had to rebuild a lot of their lease portfolios. We've also spent a lot of time on retraining, and we've raised the game across our network in terms of lease training.
Is GM Financial playing enough of a role as you expand leasing?
They're a player. I won't say it's nationwide or on every one of our product lines. But certainly they've filled a role for us both on the Buick and GMC side.
How have GMC dealers been managing the high inventory of Sierra pickups?
We had a very good December and a strong January. Then we dropped Pro Grade Protection on them to start in February. So I think they feel very good about their current Sierra inventory. I don't get any complaints.