• Oct 12, 2010
2011 Buick Regal – Click above for high-res image gallery

Looking to get some scheduled service work done on your GMC or Buick? If so, you may want to hold off for a couple weeks. Bloomberg is reporting that General Motors is considering instituting a vehicle loaner program for customers who bring in their vehicle for warranty work. The loaner program would no doubt help elevate the overall dealer service experience, but The General is hoping that the move would drive new vehicle sales as well.

Buick GMC boss Brian Sweeney reportedly told Bloomberg that the service could start "in a couple of weeks." The hope is that service customers who own older Buick or GMC models could borrow, for example, a Buick LaCrosse and notice how much the brand's new vehicles have evolved and improved. The program could also help dealers who may, in some cases, be struggling to sell more upmarket vehicles than they're accustomed to. Mark Bowsher, co-chairman of the Buick-GMC dealer council, points out that many of the dealers he represents are former Pontiac dealers, adding "now have to learn how to handle the Lexus, Ritz-Carlton, Cadillac, Mercedes kind of crowd."

While Buick isn't yet close to reaching Lexus, Cadillac or Mercedes-Benz status, the marque's sales have increased faster than any other brand in the industry in 2010. Add the fact that the cheapest new Buick on the market is the 2011 Regal at $26,995, and the Enclave crossover can top out at over $50,000, and dealers had better be prepared to sell premium products at a premium price.

[Source: Bloomberg]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am glad I do not drive a GM vehilce, if I took it in to be worked on they probably would give me an ugly GMC Terrain. I would then have to go rent something that is palatable to the eyes so I could show up somewhere in public. Now the Chevy Equinox is nice looking, not sure why they do not have the Terrain look similar to the other GMC CUV's and yes I know it was the Pontiac version until the canned Pointac, but other car makers have changed things with in the first year of sales cause the public told them they were ugly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Mark Bowsher, co-chairman of the Buick-GMC dealer council, points out that many of the dealers he represents are former Pontiac dealers, adding 'now have to learn how to handle the Lexus, Ritz-Carlton, Cadillac, Mercedes kind of crowd.'"

      Do the old Buick dealers know how to do that more than the new ones?

      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice idea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great idea. The dealership I work at does this and at times after the customer if their car is older will ask to see a salesman about possibly buying a new car or the loaner they drove. The only downside to what they want to do here is that its for warrenty work. These cars will only be a few years old, expand it to non-warrenty work and they'll see a sharp increase in buyers who came from their Service Dept.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My wife drove a Saturn for 9 years, and she loved dealing with the service dept.

      I drove an Olds Intrigue for a number of years, and the dealer where I bought the car sold to a Caddy dealer across the street. That dealer was incredible. The had free pastries. The waiting area got a flat-screen TV long before any of my friends bought one. The room had several daily newspapers. Each service advisor had an office.

      Now, I have a Chevy, and the dealer also has a very nice waiting area, with two work stations, as well as Wi-Fi and a play area for kids. While the service advisors don't have individuals offices, they are in an enclosed area, so that you don't have to yell over the air wrenches.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm getting excited about this AWD regal GS manual 6 speed car thats coming... it sounds like everything i've ever wanted in a car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        With a manual, 255 with feel plenty powerful. Remember it has a 6 second 0-60.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Two extraneous brands that should have been culled, but weren't, but probably will be culled by market forces eventually.
      • 4 Years Ago
      OMG. Is GM for real???? Do they themselves even believe this garbage?

      First, as far as the loaners, they're already preaching to the choir. Those sort are already GM-brand loyal.

      Second, "the Lexus, Ritz-Carlton, Cadillac, Mercedes kind of crowd" ??? You have got to be kidding. NO ONE cross-shops Cadillac with Mercedes that I've ever heard of, and newsflash to GM: you haven't changed that much, but even if you had, reputations are earned. You haven't had time enough to prove a thing. Be at the top of the heap, ahead of all other brands in terms of brand loyalty, reliability, driver satisfaction, etc... for 5 years, and then start deluding yourselves with grandeur that you have no right to...yet.

      What a bunch of 'tards!
        • 4 Years Ago
        whether buyers are cross-shopping MB with Cadillac is irrelevant (though some will, I tend to agree not), everyone looking at a Buick or Cadillac is going to be impressed if they get a MB service experience. If GM offers it, it will boost their image and put them on track for competing with Lexus and BMW, their truest competition.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Reread the article. A lot of Buick dealers used to be Pontiac dealers, since Pontiac dealers usually sold GMC. My wife's dealer used to be a Pontiac-GMC dealer. Then it became a Pontiac-GMC-Buick dealer. Now, it's a Buick-GMC dealer. It's got some catching up to do to become as nice some Buick dealers that have been selling Buicks for eons.

        If someone brings in a Grand Prix or G6 for warrenty work, he might be surprised that the LaCrosse and Regal aren't for the retiree set.

        And while I agree that someone shopping for an S-Class isn't about to also shop for a DTS, someone shopping for a C-Class ought to shop for a CTS. The CTS will outrun and out handle the C-Class.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You must not know a lot of people in this market segment if you don't know anyone who has cross shopped a Cadillac with a Mercedes Benz. Sure, some of the Cadillac offerings dont hold a stick to a Merc (DTS/S-Class for example), but the CTS, STS, CTS-V, STS-V offerings are pretty solid competitors from the General to the German offerings in thier respective classes.

      • 4 Years Ago
      If anyone else is like me, the reason not to buy another GM product isn't the quality of the product itself but the quality of service offered at the dealer.

      GM has revamped their products, now they need to revamp their service.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was impressed when I had my Pontiac in for warranty work. They gave me a 2011 Buick Regal as a courtesy car. I thought the car was pretty nice, but not enough power for my liking. It handles well, and is not a slow car, just not quite as fast as I'd like.

      So having cars available for loaners is a great idea to me, not sure why a car company wouldn't do such a thing. The worst thing is to buy a new car and have to lose it for a day or two, or week and do without the car because it needs warranty work. The car is new and should NOT have ANYTHING wrong with it, so the least they can do is provide you a comparable car while yours is being fixed.

      And a car dealer should be concentrating on customer support, so if the vehicle they sell has any problems, the dealer should be providing a loaner, even if its a used car off their lot.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do you really believe no one has ever compared a GL550 to an Escalade?

      Maybe not compare their cars but their large Suv's are cross shopped regularly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having the dealers buy a bunch of new cars will do wonders for GM's sales figures.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They won't buy a bunch of cars, the executive cars will be used as loaners. Most dealers that are doing this now schedule the work when a loaner is needed, to keep the number of car on loan down. Believe it or not, there's not that much need for loaners when doing repair work, most work can be done while the customer waits.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Near-zero profit captive fleet sales to a small number of dealers who can simply increase their carrying count by one or two more cars? Not so much.

        Money-wise, GM would do better to push them to Avis as "upgrade" cars, as they're actual sales with some profit built in.
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