Cheap Leases, Free Cash and Slashed Stickers as GM Tries to Move Slow-selling Passenger Cars

cheap leases free cash and slashed stickers as gm tries to move slow selling

Pity the poor passenger car. Once on top, now increasingly being spoke of in sentences that use the word “endangered.”

If last month’s sales figures tell us anything, it’s that the current trend towards spacious crossovers and SUV shows no signs of abating. With the segment now relegated to second-class status, passenger car makers face rising inventories and a growing need to sweeten the sales pot.

General Motors recently idled some plants and cut shifts to draw down a glut of unsold vehicles, but February’s dismal sales did nothing to help. Well, it’s March now, so bring on the crazy sales!

If you’re the owner of a 2008 or newer Japanese or Korean vehicle and are looking to lease a 2017 Chevrolet Cruze LT this month, congratulations. You’ve selected a very opportune time. According to manufacturer deals posted to the GM Inside News forum, GM wants those drivers to have $3,000 in competitive lease cash, after which a 24-month lease of a Cruze rings in at $99 a month (with $969 due at signing).

Going into February, GM’s Cruze inventory stood at 101 day’s worth of vehicles. That’s down from the 121-day supply seen before Christmas, but still well above healthy levels. At 15,367, last month’s sales topped 2016’s 12,998 units, but that second figure is from a time of changeover between the previous and current generation of vehicles. Before that, all February sales range from just under 18,000 to over 21,000 vehicles.

Similar deals are offered on several other 2017 models — Malibu, Trax, Camaro, Volt, Colorado, Equinox and Traverse.

For three bowtie-bearing vehicles, GM will chop 20 percent off the MSRP between now and March 13. And it just so happens that those models are excluded from the lease deal: Spark, Impala and Sonic. Impala sales are dropping especially fast. Last year’s tally didn’t clear the 100,000 marker — the first time that’s happened since GM resurrected the model for the 2000 model year. It’s also less than a third of the model’s 311,128 sales recorded in 2007.

In February, Impala’s 7,165 U.S. sales were markedly lower than the 9,147 and 9,065 sales recorded for the same month in 2016 and 2015. Going back to 2011 shows February sales at a lofty 16,290 units.

Chevy’s Sonic fared no better. Despite a styling refresh, its 2,140 February sales fell by half, year over year, from the 4,241 recorded in 2016. For the model’s first three full years on the market (2012-2014), U.S. February sales didn’t fall below 6,000.

Only the sub-subcompact Spark has remained consistent in sales, recently buoyed by a styling makeover and the addition of a larger 1.4-liter engine. February’s 2,139 sales topped last year’s 1,761, but still came in lower than all years prior to that.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 02, 2017

    GM is going to have to get real very soon. They seem to have great difficulty throttling their factory production to match sales.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 02, 2017

    It's not just sedans that are faltering. Consumers are now carrying $1.6 TRILLION in auto debt. For about the last five years, people couldn't stand their old clunkers anymore and bought/leased new, or nearly new. Unless the economy booms with new jobs and the layabouts get out of their parents' basements, needing cars to get to work, there's going to be a real dip in new cars sales, lasting until the 2020s or thereabouts. The question is, where are the inexpensive used car trade-ins?

  • Master Baiter The D-bag elites like Al Gore demanding that we all switch to EVs are the type of people who don't actually drive. They get chauffeured around in black Yukon Denalis. Tesla does have a good charging network--maybe someday they will produce a car that doesn't suck.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird As a Challenger GT awd owner I lIke it’s heritage inspired styling a lot. There’s a lot of 66-67 as well as 68-70 Charger in there. It’s refreshing that it doesn’t look like a blob like Tesla, Volt/Bolt, Mach-e BMW I whatever etc. The fact that it’s a hatch makes it even better as a everyday driver thus eliminating the need for a CUV. If it’s well built and has a reliable track record I can see trading up to it in a few years.
  • Jbawden I thought sedans were dead? Coupes even more so. The core Charger/Challenger buyer is in it for the Hemi. To whom is this and the presumed EV Camaro marketed to? The ICE versions of these cars have a LOT of shortcomings, but rear drive, a V8, and a Tremec 6 speed made all that disappear. If you're forcing me into a 1,000hp appliance, then give me some visibility and practicality while your at it. And for the love of all things holy, please allow me to maintain a little dignity by leaving off the ridiculous space jam sound effects. What out of touch focus group think approved that? It's almost as embarrassing as the guy who signed off on the Pontiac Aztec.
  • Jalop1991 The simple fact is, America and Americans excel at building complex things (bridges, for example) but absolutely SUCK at maintaining them. We're too busy moving on to the next new shiny thing that a politician can get good airtime for. Fixing the bridge? Not sexy. Cutting the ribbon at a new EV charge site? Photo-op worthy. Demanding that the owner of said charging site be accountable and not let his site become the EV equivalent of a slum? Hard and not a newsworthy event.I have a PHEV and once tried some sort of public charging, just to see what happens. Failed miserably. We'd all be riding horses today if gas stations performed like EV charge stations do.
  • SCE to AUX Apps like PlugShare prove a few points:[list][*]Tesla's charging network is the best, almost always earning a 10/10.[/*][*]Dealer chargers are the worst, often blocked (ICE'd) or inaccessible behind a locked gate.[/*][*]Electrify America chargers aren't bad; my few experiences with them have been quite good. But they are also very new.[/*][*]Calling the help line is nearly useless.[/*][*]There are still charging gaps in high-travel flyover areas, which coincidentally have a lot of "Trump" flags waving in them.[/*][/list]As an EV driver and engineer, I don't understand how public chargers get so screwed up. They are simple devices. My home charger is 10 years old and has never missed a beat, but it only gets one cycle a day and lives indoors.