Buick extends lease promotion

Sweeney: "Retaining those Experience Buick customers will be key."

NEW ORLEANS -- Buick plans to continue a 24-month promotional lease program that has helped stoke its lease business over the past two years.

Experience Buick was launched in March 2012, offering free scheduled maintenance, OnStar and Sirius-XM radio. Buick will keep the program and is gearing up for an initial wave of off-lease customers who were among the first to sign up for it two years ago, said Brian Sweeney, Buick-GMC's U.S. vice president of sales and service.

Buick's U.S. sales rose 14 percent to 205,509 vehicles last year compared with an 8 percent gain for the overall market.

"The message was to continue to grow and continue to conquest," Sweeney said after the Sunday make meeting. "Retaining those Experience Buick customers will be key."

Buick's lease penetration has risen steadily since General Motors rolled out the promotion, accounting for more than one-third of the brand's sales in 2013, which rose 14 percent to 205,509 units.

One dealer at the meeting asked whether GM also would offer a promotional lease for GMC. Sweeney said GMC's 36-month and 39-month lease programs "seem to be working well."

David Ferraez, dealer principal at Green Brook Buick-GMC in Green Brook, N.J., said leases accounted for 72 percent of his unit sales last year.

Ferraez said: "Dealers welcome the continuation of that 24-month program."

You can reach Mike Colias at autonews@crain.com

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