By on February 27, 2017

2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 W/T

The pickup is as much of a stereotypical American icon as gun ownership and throwing things away. Last year was a particularly good one for trucks, with Ford F-Series sales reaching pre-recession volume and a 10-year high and Ram recording a seventh year of growth. However, with sales peaking for the other domestic labels, General Motors’ share of the market shrunk.

What’s the solution to whatever consumers find lacking with GM’s product? A price war, of course. While Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are scaling back, GM upped incentives from last February by 56 percent for the Chevrolet Silverado and 82 percent for the GMC Sierra. With the pickup segment being so important in North America, nobody wants to lose ground. Aggressive discounts are often the only way to overwhelm brand loyalty, but the practice is also guaranteed to eat into profits while annoying the competition.

“It’s taking a lot more incentives now to move the metal than it did last year or certainly the year before,” Autotrader senior analyst Michelle Krebs told Bloomberg. “Things are slowing.”

While Ford and FCA continue to do well with pickups, General Motor’s shrinking sales reflects the automotive market as a whole. The industry is cooling off after several years of steady growth and, apparently, the F-Series is yet to get the memo. The result is Chevrolet spending 85 percent more in discounts per truck than Ford.

“Last month, GM’s pickup sales were down,” Frank Ursomarso, owner of Union Park GMC in Delaware, explained. “That’s why they’re doing this. GM has to battle against Ram and Ford.”

General Motors is calling this incentivizing part of “Truck Month.” The promotion includes reductions of 25 percent on some 2016 Sierra pickups and as much as $11,185 in discounts for certain 2017 Silverado models. If the F-Series’ place as North America’s best-selling vehicle for the 35th consecutive year doesn’t appeal to you, and you’re not a Mopar fanatic, this might not be a terrible month to roll some change and head into a Chevrolet dealership.

Then again, you could also wait a little while and see if GM’s wealth of discounts and the slowing market forces other truck manufactures to follow suit.

[Image: General Motors]

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49 Comments on “What Do General Motors’ Trucks Have That the Other Domestics Don’t? Huge Incentives...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Every month is Truck Month.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    GM should just give the trucks away for free. That will definitely get them the market share crown.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    If the rumored death of the 5.7 Hemi in Ram 1500s turns out to be true then expect mass defection to GM. But until then, the 5.3 is a bit down on power, and the Silverado is the easiest to scrap the front chin on all the pickups I tried. But I did notice there are some stupid good deals on 2500 Sierra crewcabs around my area, I mean cheapther than even Ram 2500s. Maybe they are discounting their 3/4 and 1 ton models more than their 1500s?

    I am not yet used to the 2014+ front styling but eh, that’s not a deal breaker.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    I came across some forums online where a number of Silverado and Sierra owners were none too happy about inexplicable shaking and vibration at highway speed. Seemed like a bunch of people had issues like this develop in low mile trucks, and they were having a hard time getting them resolved despite new tires and other repair attempts.

    Anyone know if this was a tempest in an internet teapot, or a legit issue?

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Every vehicle forum I’ve ever encountered had a significant number of users complaining about shaking and vibration at speed.

      Every. Single. One.

      • 0 avatar
        syncro87

        Yeah, I hear you, but this seemed to be more significant. I think there was a 300 or 400 page thread on the matter on one GM forum. I waded through part of it one day, and it seemed like it was more than just the typical few internet forum complainers.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          My neighbor has a 14′ with 60k miles. He routinely laments that he wishes he had his 04′ that he traded in on it back. Shakes like mad, and no one can figure it out.

  • avatar
    Rday

    i only test drove a ford 3500 and gm. the ford rode so poorly i didn’t even get a price from them but i was told it was higher than gm. didn’t look much at chevy either since their ride was almost as bad. gmc had the best ride so i bought one. haven’t been disappointed. love the truck and don’t understand why they are not selling so well. CR says that the gm 2500/3500 are 35% above average on repairs, etc. Ford is below average as is Ram. on half tons the situation is reversed with ford doing very well and gm not. Hard to figure.
    But i sure am happy with my denali 3500. hope you find happiness in whatever you drive.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    The list prices on pickups is creative to say the least. Even w/ incentives, the profit margin is HUGE.

    Price them realistically for the market and then you don’t have to “discount”. Rinse. Cycle. Repeat.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      Trucks seem to be priced using the same model Kohl’s department store uses.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      thornmark – Incentives work. Dropping the average price of MSRP doesn’t work. Many retail outlets have tried and failed with that strategy. Psychologically people like the idea of saving.

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      I came in here to post basically this. People always talk about how much more expensive trucks are today than 10 or 20 years ago, but the profits are massive. The incentives might be thrown around excessively, but the starting price are absurd to begin with, so it’s a bit of a wash.

      That said, I disagree with your recommendation to “price them realistically for the market and then you don’t have to discount” notion because it seems this “HUGE SALE!” concept seems to be working just fine for buyers. People feel like they’re getting a great deal, and the transaction prices are still giving substantial profits back to the automaker.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Also, since MSRP is required on the Monroney sticker it’s actually tough to change it to reflect actual transaction prices as things change throughout the year or from region to region.

        Easier to just set it too high to begin with and then update incentives as needed.

  • avatar
    Krivka

    I don’t know where there is not a 10k reduction on F-150s or Rams. My friend just picked up a Ram and it was 10k under sticker and the Ford salesperson was screaming he could beat the price. So it isn’t only GM with the incentives.

  • avatar
    gomez

    Part of the problem is that the GM trucks look 10 years old because they didn’t change the design much during the 2014 redesign. It’s one of the reasons the new Camaro doesn’t sell: it looks exactly like the previous generation. There are only a handful of vehicles (911, Wrangler) that can get by with that. GM needs to be more bold with the next Silverado and Sierra.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      In looking at back to back shots of the 2007 F-150 and Silverado compared to the 2017s, I’m not so certain that the styling of the F-150 changed so drastically, either. The F-150, much like the Camry, has simply become the defacto choice of many truck buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      gomez – I do believe that GM’s refresh of the Sierra/Silverado was a step backwards.
      They don’t offer the same option bundles as Ford or Ram. You can’t get the Z71 trim package with tow mirrors or the tow package. That would be my choice in a Chevy along with 6.2 but it isn’t available.
      The 5.3 is a dog in comparison to the 6.2. I’m betting that has an effect on sales. Look at Ford, the EB 3.5 is the volume seller. The 5.0 keeps the “gotta hava V8” crowd happy as the smaller EB2.7 beats it in every metric except growl.

    • 0 avatar
      011001100110

      Fact of the matter, GM hasn’t made a good looking truck in years. They are just big slabs of steel rectangles with wheels. I liked it when they did custom trucks. What happen to the step sides, flare sides with a performance package, some good lines, and really only meant to Haul…, ass.
      I’ve been a GM fan for years, and haven’t see anything that would interest me now days.
      That’s why I still drive my 86 El Camino, and 92 GMC Typhoon.
      Why can’t GM make a good looking muscular truck like the new mercedes Benz’s X class.
      Bring in some new blood into the truck division.
      Oh yeah…, their commercials suck big time compared to ford & mopar. People just talking…., who cares?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    In Bus school they noted similar. Bloomingdales couldn’t sell silk scarves at $15. So they raised them to $25 and put up SALE signs. They sold out quickly.

    But here we’re talking brands and usually discounting damages brands – Cadillac, Nissan – and it becomes difficult to resurrect them. But heck, as Americans we all love deals.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I’m just waiting for these incentives to hit the Colorado/Canyon.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “What Does General Motors’ Trucks Have…”

    “Trucks” is plural.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Does TTAC Editors Has A Grammar Problem?

    Edit: Beaten by OldManPants.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t have time to go do the math, but is this because GM’s days of inventory is larger than F or FCA? (see Camaro)

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    I’m curious, ignoring the MSRP or the incentives, what is the average transaction price of GM vs. Ford vs. Ram trucks?

    i.e. is GM throwing cash on the hood really leading to lower sale prices than Ford/Ram or is their MSRP just higher to begin with?

  • avatar
    Nellakwah

    But what about the FIVE ‘special editions’ I keep seeing on TV? Those consumers in the ads all seem to be blown away by them! Or maybe because they keep sneaking up on them?

    Man, I hate those commercials…

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      The current Chevy ad campaigns suck. And the stupid GMC “dive in” ad, with the giant wave? They run that three times during the 10 o’clock news. I want to scream. I’ve already heard “Eminence Front” so many times now that I hate it, and I used to like it.

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    Anyone making the commitment to spend 50, 60, 70 thousand on up for a new pickup gets real serious about the product features , quality issues , comfort and value for money . I buy myself a new truck every two to three years and I keep an open mind and shop hard for my next ride. Up to about ten years ago GM always got my money but now Gm is last on my list . Their trucks are still just the old GMT 800 platform that arrived in 1999 . Granted they have been re skined and modernized but also in many way made cheaper and more problematic . I have friends and neiighbors that have Silverados that have shake and vibration issues that the dealer cant fix . Many of them are completely disgusted with GM and the poor way they are being treated . I am not surprised that GM has to pay people to buy their products I am surprised that GM has held on to the declining market share they have . I don’t talk to anyone interested in buying a GM or Truck anymore . This saying says it all ” Yesterdays cars and trucks at Tomorrows Prices “

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    One of the local GMC dealers around here in the DFW area (Freeman) has been running radio ads for $60,000 Sierras for $550 down and $550/month on a 39 month lease, or, if you want to to buy one, 20 percent off MSRP.

    Twenty percent off MSRP? What does it cost to build one of those? It must not be that much. I know that pickups have high profit margins, but this is ridiculous.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    And it’s 40 years for the F-Series as sales leader (in the US), not 35.

  • avatar

    thank goodness for truck sales. without them GM would no longer exist.


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