GM raises pickup prices to offer incentives later

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DETROIT — General Motors is adding a twist to the fight for supremacy in the red-hot U.S. pickup market: It’s raising prices.

GM is adding almost $2,100 to the sticker price of the base 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. That’s 8.5 percent above the price when the truck hit showrooms in the spring. Other versions of the truck, along with the similar GMC Sierra, will see similar percentage increases.

Raising prices sounds like an odd way to boost sales, but analysts suspect it’s a marketing ploy. They expect GM to raise incentives starting next month so dealers can advertise big discounts. Customers will feel they’re getting a deal – whether they do depends on the size of the discount.

The move comes after GM’s pickup sales fell 8 percent in September while its two biggest competitors saw increases. Sales of Ford’s F-Series, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., rose 10 percent and Chrysler’s Ram posted an 8 percent increase. The Detroit Three dominate U.S. full-size pickup sales with 90 percent of the market. The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan make up the rest.

Raising prices and then adding incentives is common in the business, and truck buyers especially like to get deals, said Jesse Toprak, an analyst for TrueCar.com auto pricing site:

“This whole change in pricing strategy for trucks at GM is really meant predominantly as a sales closing tactic for dealerships.”

General Motors spokesman Jim Cain said that when the trucks were introduced, GM kept sticker prices the same as 2013 models, so the price increases were a long time coming.


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