Nobody said the full-size truck market was an easy place to get sales, and November 2012 will likely to go down in the history books as a prime example, especially for Chevy and GMC dealerships.
According to Automotive News, Alan Batey, GM's U.S. sales chief, was shocked and surprised that Ford and Chrysler were offering so many high-dollar incentives and promotional deals to consumers. In fact, according to GM, the average amount of money spent was $500 more per pickup, with the highest amounts totalling as much as $1,500 and $1,700 more than Chevrolet or GMC.
Of course, Ford and Ram were spending big mostly because they are trying to sell down their 2012 models on the lots to make way for either an all-new 2013, like the Ram 1500, or significantly upgraded models, like the 2013 F-150.
In some ways, GM is suffering from the fact that it has a highly anticipated all-new model coming for 2014, so it needed to build up a hefty stockpile of 2013 models to accommodate the change-over downtime that each of the half-ton production plants will need to endure while manufacturing changes are made. (For those who keep track, that's why the days' supply of GM half-tons is higher than they would like, at 139 days.)
If there's a silver lining to any of this, Batey notes, it's that even though GM's sales may be flat or a touch behind compared with last November (some dealers attribute it to fewer incentives), the automaker does have an average transaction price about $2,700 higher than last, all of which goes directly to GM's bottom line.
It's no surprise that Ram dealers want to get rid of the 2012 models quickly to make way for the coming all-new Ram 1500, but the big test will come when we see how well the market responds when the full lineup is available. Likewise, GM dealers will need to be very careful how they prepare themselves when the all-new Silverado and Sierra 1500s finally roll off the plant lines.
Dealerships and truck makers will have to be very careful how much money they're willing to put on the hood of a new truck just to make a sale. Toyota found out how punishing that game can be, and we're guessing GM will have to be very good about walking the tightrope with its new truck as well.