NEW ORLEANS -- Buick will extend a promotional two-year lease program and is encouraging dealers to track customers whose leases are soon to expire.
Buick launched the Experience Buick program in March 2012, offering lessees scheduled maintenance, OnStar and Sirius XM radio as part of the lease price. The program will remain in place while Buick dealers prepare for a 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.
"The message was to continue to grow and continue to conquest," Sweeney said after Buick's make meeting here. "Retaining those Experience Buick customers will be key."
Buick's lease penetration has risen steadily since General Motors rolled out the promotion. It accounted 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."
GM is encouraging dealers to consider business development centers as a way to help retain those returning customers and to go after non-GM buyers, who accounted for 42 percent of Buick sales last year. A business development center is an office within the dealership in charge of following up on sales and service leads and going after new business.
GM has recommended two business development center vendors to help train their dealership employees: Traver Technologies and ProActive Dealer Solutions.