DETROIT -- General Motors said today it is starting its annual Red Tag sale early this year. The sale, which typically begins just before Thanksgiving weekend, will start tomorrow and run until Jan. 5.
GM also has launched a pair of direct-mail incentives programs, dealers said.
In a sales call to analysts and the media, GM marketing chief, Mark LaNeve confirmed GM would be starting the Red Tag sale Nov. 4.
"To get things going were going to move up our traditional Red Tag sale," says LaNeve, GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing. "We typically start it Thanksgiving weekend, were going to start it tomorrow. Itll be a net price play much like Employee Discount. Were going to have a very aggressive ad campaign a across all of our divisions."
LaNeve says GM will be more aggressive overall in its marketing. Were going to attack the market with as much media weight as we can throw against it, he adds.
Dealers said that in previous years the dealer council had requested moving the sale up to the first week of November to be on par with competitors programs.
Its a stronger play than what they had last month, said Lynn Thompson, president of Thompson Motor Sales in Springfield, Mo. They want to make sure they are out there and competitive from day one.
The sale will encompass all GM brands, including Saab, but exclude some GM products, such as the Cadillac CTS-V, dealers say. The Red Tag sale means customers will get almost the GM supplier price on most GM products, including some hot-selling products such as the Buick Enclave.
Rebates on top of sale price
The supplier price is 4 percent more than the employee price. That means a new Buick Enclave -- usually priced at $36,530 including shipping -- would be priced at $34,608 less an applicable incentive, says one Buick-GMC dealer.
And there will be rebates on top of the supplier price up to $8,500 (including dealer cash) on select 2008 and 2009 models, the dealer said.
GM is offering up to $7,250 in customer cash under the plan, GM said.
One example, the GMC 2008 Yukon XL now has $8,500 on it, says one dealer.
One other good deal is the Cadillac Escalade, Thompson says. That vehicle is part of the Red Tag sale at the supplier price, plus there is $6,750 cash on the hood and some dealer cash on top of that discount.
This is really the first time that Cadillac, Hummer and Saab went in on this with Buick-Pontiac-GMC and Chevrolet on the Red Tag event, Thompson says. So this is big.
As part of the sale, GM will offer a lease pull ahead of up to two monthly payments for those who are in a lease that expires if your lease expires between Nov. 4 and June 30, 2009.
Direct-mail incentives launched
GM is also launching two new incentives on most models, but they are targeted at select customers.
In a program dubbed Garage Mate, GM is mailing an unspecificed number of $2,000-off coupons for most 2008 and 2009 models, according to a memo to dealers obtained by Automotive News. Those coupons will go to customers who own at least one GM vehicle and a competitive vehicle that is modeled to be in-market for repurchase, the memo said.
The second incentive plan also is a direct mailing. GM will offer $1,500 direct-mail cash on most 2008 and 2009 models to a select list of non-GMAC loan holders who do not own a GM vehicle.
Both direct-mail programs are planned to run through Jan. 5, the memo said.
GM spokesman Johnn McDonald had no comment on the two direct-mail incentive offerings, saying: Its a private direct-mail piece only available to people who receive it.