By on June 22, 2018

Chevy Traverse

Generally when we write about sticker prices for the upcoming model year, it’s to document a price hike – sometimes minor, sometimes major. Rarely does a manufacturer cut prices, especially in a hot segment.

However, it appears that’s exactly what The General is doing across three of its brands. A few machines take a haircut and give up some standard equipment, while others will simply have a Monroney bearing a smaller number next year.

According to CarsDirect, who dug into GM’s 2019 order guides, mid-level trims of various crossovers and SUVs are being repositioned a bit. For example, the 2019 Equinox 3LT, a trim which sits roughly in the middle of that model’s byzantine range, will now command $30,495 of the finest American dollars. That is $1,200 cheaper than last year.

However, the Driver Confidence Package – a feature that includes blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems, parking sensors, and a few other items – that was standard equipment has vanished. In its place, customers can pony up $1,545 for a Confidence & Convenience Package, an option that includes the aforementioned items plus dual-zone climate control, remote start, and heated seats.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

The names of these option packages make me chuckle. It is this author’s opinion that any machine costing north of $30,000 should already include a great amount of convenience. As for the confidence, well, you’re on your own there.

Also, safety nannies like forward collision warnings were standard on all-wheel drive Equinox machines (Equinoxes? Equini?) whether customers wanted them or not. Now, they’re optional. This change shaves just under $2,000 off the price.

Its big brother, the Traverse LT (with leather) bins its standard 20-inch wheels and Bose sound system, cutting the price to $39,995. This will allow GM to advertise the thing as “starting under $40,000. Adding them back in jacks the sticker to $43,090. Last year’s truck included that equipment and was priced at $42,695.

2018 Buick Enclave

Over on the Buick side of the showroom, the Encore’s top-rung Premium trim is AWOL, bringing the price of the most costly Encore down to $31,795 from $33,095. I will now pause to collect myself after realizing one can spec an Encore to that level of financial imprudence. Optional gear previously reserved for the Premium is now available on the Essence.

The Enclave drops its sticker price by a not-insignificant $2,300, down to $42,995. This is surely a play to add value and boost its market share, as the machine’s equipment levels remain the same.

2018 GMC Terrain - Image: GMC

Mid-level SLT trims at GMC are dropping by $500 on the Terrain and Acadia. On Terrain, that reduces the walk from a base model to just $2,800. If more people step up to the SLT from SLE, this may turn into a situation where a price cut actually encouraged people to spend more. By dropping the SLT’s price, it is possible that a few extra shoppers will pop for the snazzier trim. GMC also seems to be bundling adaptive cruise with their driver assistance tech package, adding value to that option and making it a better buy.

One thing left unmentioned (and that savvy shoppers should watch out for) is an increase in destination fees. Tacking on an extra two or three hundred dollars to that line of the sticker is a common way to increase transaction prices.

[Images: General Motors]

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32 Comments on “The Price Is Right: GM Axes Cost of Numerous SUVs...”


  • avatar
    thegamper

    I really don’t understand the wisdom of offering vehicles like this in so many configurations. I am a much bigger fan of just buying the trim level, no options or few options.

    I guess it is a way to save money if you are a frugal shopper, which is nice, don’t get me wrong. But I feel like more often they include one or two popular items in those packages to make people spring for it making it seem like you are being nickel and dimed when you have to buy a package that costs $4K to get fog lights. A package that costs $6k to get a moonroof. Etc. I also personally feel that all but the newest and prohibitively expensive safety features should just be standard across the model.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      What I laugh at is “driver confidence I” and then further down the page is “driver confidence II” – it also irritates me when a nearly $40K vehicle has things like “blind spot monitoring” as “optional”.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel J

        I’ve been looking at a Buick Regal Sportback Essence, an to get Blind Spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and LED headlights (package 1 and 2), it adds close to 3K on the vehicle. All this stuff is standard on many other cars like the Honda Accord or Mazda 6 at respective trim levels. Its pretty obsurd.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Buick’s “Packages” make very little sense to me period.

          Base = poverty, for the small town that has a Buick dealer and NO Chevy dealer within miles.

          Preferred = adds one or two inconsequential options that GM should be embarrassed to not have as standard on the base.

          Essence = where you finally get heated seats and on SOME models a heated steering wheel.

          Premium = most of the things you expected to be standard on a “premium” car are at this trim level. Sadly on something like the LaCrosse this is how high you have to go to get heated wheel (making a LaCrosse with the same features as an Impala Premier shockingly more expensive)

          Avenir = Cadillac? What Cadillac?

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          The 2018 Regal Sportback Essence with LED headlights and blindspot is $29K or $8,000 off MSRP. Can you get those options on an Accord 2.0T or Camry v6 for less?

          https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/731880217/overview/

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      They need to confuse the living hell out of people so it’s nearly impossible to compare vehicles by price.

      Most people appreciate the auto industry for what it produces, but it is one of the most fundamentally corrupt industries on earth. The people at the top are doing everything in their power to thwart commoditization of their industry and price competition among the competitors. Whatever happens, the auto industry must not cede any additional surplus to the consumer!! Every once in a while we demand something as a market, like reliability, and they are forced to respond.

      Consumers hold all of the cards, but it’s easier just to exploit the weaknesses in their game than it is to coordinate with other consumers or pass anti-trust regulations. Forget the pricing traps and pricing mirages they have worked so hard to create. Just buy straw hats in winter.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        “They need to confuse the living hell out of people so it’s nearly impossible to compare vehicles by price.”

        I honestly think this is the plan. Then they put the options most people want into the top tier package to steer them into emptying their wallets. Plus they only make the base model to advertise the lowest price, then purposely don’t stock it on the lot. This automatically forces you into the mid level model. Once you have accepted this they quickly point out all the goodies you *could* have for only $35 more a month (X 72 months) if you move up to the loaded model.

        Because of such nonsense I ordered my truck, getting the exact combination I wanted. It only took 4 weeks which I thought was reasonable to build a complete vehicle as I desired. My truck was fully loaded and missing just three options: the leather seats (too hot and sticky), the nearly worthless (but costs $400 at the time) overhead console computer which shows fuel economy, air temperature and direction of travel (aka a compass) and the two tone paint option. I regret not getting the two tone paint as it made for some nice combinations (blue over tan). However I think I could pull the console computer from a junkyard as all the wiring is already there. I’m so glad I didn’t get the leather as the current cloth seats still look PERFECT after nearly 16 years.

      • 0 avatar
        "scarey"

        THIS ! ^^^

        TW5 has it exactly right !

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          Look at some manufacturers though. You select a trim, a color. …..done! Mazda for instance. Subaru, Honda, some Nissan’s.
          Just select trim level.

          Some clearly try to squeeze more money with options. Navigation and rear entertainment systems are the worst. Ya, I already got navigation on my phone already paid for, and Google is better than the in car systems.

          You can buy that rear seat DVD player as $2000 option, or go to Walmart and get one for $70.

      • 0 avatar
        mmreeses

        Dilbert guy Scott Adams calls it “confus-opoly”

        Lots of industries do it. Information asymmetry = profits.

        http://blog.dilbert.com/2017/05/04/the-healthcare-confusopoly/

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Some cynical moves by the “new” GM.

    I’m surprised that they didn’t set Traverse MSRP at $39,999.99 – Although I was amazed at how many of the current gen Traverse I saw on my recent New Mexico to California and back again driving trip. (And no they weren’t all rentals.) I saw a Karma in the metal, a half-dozen various Teslas plus many more on semis, saw a last gen Camaro ZL/1 in a parking garage, many V8 LX platform cars (including a Hellcat that appeared to be following a Nissan GTR down the freeway) but not a single current gen Regal of any kind.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      There is a guy who drives a completely chromed out Karma to my daughters soccer club to drop his kid off. That is a pretty car. His kid must be in different age group but keep feeling the need to go make friends with him lol.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        This one was parked in the front row by the valets at the hotel and I noticed it was the “ES” package (I believe that was the environmentally friendly version with cloth interior?) but the windows were so deeply tinted I couldn’t see the interior.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I vaguely remember some tabloid reporting that Justin Bieber had a chrome-painted Karma (several years ago); maybe this was his old car.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Making the “Driver Confidence Package” optional should satisfy the people who
    -Don’t like safety nannies
    -Prefer to be able to customize equipment rather than have everything bundled.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So… they are giving you the cash on the hood price to start?

  • avatar
    Fred

    No matter the advertised price, it’s what’s on the dealer’s lot that matters. By this time next year we see that the average transaction price has risen as usual.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Yeah, they raise the price a couple hundred dollars a couple times a year. Got to laugh at GM Card members working on building their discount and only have it match the price for sake 3-5 years later. Of course GM does top up where they’ll add thousands to an older model to move it.

      Mean while Capital One gives me 5% on all purchases with no limit and a $5/month fee that I can cash in tax free when ever.

  • avatar
    amca

    Ha! It had to happen eventually! The CUV market is saturating, margins are eroding.

    Hallelujah! Pay that this means maybe we’ve hit peak SUV.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Autoline after hours.
    3-5 months ago they were talking about what option trim level you need to buy on a GM POS to get the safety nannies.

    They said it was on purpose to dick the customer. (get more $) Others on the panel chimed in and said, ‘ no no no, there is a limited supply of safety nanny goodies from the suppliers.”

    Utter – complete – barf inducing BS.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Agree, if there is money to be made, they will always find a way to make more unless it’s a product that truly depends on limited availability like certain luxury goods.

      Although, was looking to upgrade kids graphics card on his computer. You can’t get Nvidia processors anywhere for straight retail. The are being bought by the truckload by digital currency miners….crazy.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      redapple, the GM manager said that the cost for safety stuff where not down yet and like to make a better car with better handling, ride quality, low NVH, and plenty of passing power. If you watch YouTube there are Corolla and Highlander punching through cardboard boxes without stopping. Toyota Safety Sense is the biggest con-job!

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      It might be even worse than you know.

      Those collision avoidance systems actually help them meet their CAFE targets because because accident avoidance systems supposedly stop traffic congestion. Therefore, fuel is saved, though it can’t be measured on the test.

      So we’re actually paying to help them avoid CAFE penalties.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    So, more expensive then, gotcha. Good jog, again, GM.

    GM-JUNK.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Wouldn’t a more accurate title be “GM cuts standard equipment, but will sell it back to you for a higher price. Porsche, watch out!”?

  • avatar
    GregLocock

    The price of higher trim levels is easy to cut, since the markup on them is something like 400%. For example, every time you order fancy wheels for your new car, that goes straight into the bottom line for the manufacturer. Base alloy wheels cost the manufacturer about ten bucks more than the price of the aluminum in them. Fancy wheels don’t actually cost that much more (there’s a bit of argy bargy about tooling costs, but alloy wheels hit the assymptotic low point for manufacturing costs at about 5000 car sets per year).

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    ‘Ignore the MSRP. It means nothing to you.’

    First lesson any new vehicle buyer should learn.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with bullshit.”

    Not sure who first came up with that but I’ll bet you dollars to lug nuts it was a GM employee.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Bad move by GM. Instead of building value the way Nissan did with the Kicks’including the safety features even in the base models, GM pulls them out and then gouges you to put them back in. This should help GM fall to the back when safety ratings rank carmakers on equipment when theirs is “Available” and the competition’s is “Standard”.

    Throwing out a lowball sticker price on a base model isn’t going to fool many people. For me the “base price” is the price for the least expensive model that has my must-have features. If I have to go up 3 trim levels to get heated seats, which I demand, then that’s the base price of your vehicle to me.


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