GM Cuts Base Prices up to $2,570 on Select Models

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Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing analyst, Alex offers must-know analysis of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured in publications such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Autoblog.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - January 28, 2015

In an unusual shift, GM has slashed base prices by almost $2,600 on some of its bestselling models. However, a closer look suggests there could be hidden tradeoffs.

Signs of a shift

Last month, Chevrolet quietly launched the 2015 Cruze L, undercutting the lowest-priced Cruze LS by $1,575. Isolated case? Far from it.

CarsDirect has learned the automaker has also lowered starting prices on the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, and Buick LaCrosse. The changes aren't small potatoes, too, with an average decrease of almost $2,500.

Undercutting competitors

Some models now start substantially lower than competitors. The Chevrolet Cruze has a starting MSRP $2,320 lower than the least-expensive Honda Civic LX. The Chevrolet Equinox, previously $1,075 higher than the Honda CR-V, is now $1,325 less expensive.

The GMC Terrain widens its price advantage over the Ford Edge from $1,540 to a whopping $4,030. The Buick LaCrosse, previously more expensive than the Toyota Avalon, is now $1,220 lower.

New Trim Name Lowest MSRP (Before) Lowest MSRP (After) Difference
2015 Chevrolet Cruze L $17,745 $16,170 -$1,575
2015 Chevrolet Equinox L $24,520 $22,120 -$2,400
2015 GMC Terrain SL $26,560 $24,070 -$2,490
2015 Buick LaCrosse 1SV $33,635 $31,065 -$2,570


The odd catch


The most interesting thing is that GM has managed to leapfrog competitor pricing without stripping away key features. What GM has done, however, is slice dealer margins on the least-expensive trims.

For example, the difference in invoice and MSRP prices on a Chevrolet Cruze LS has been about $600. The difference on the new Cruze L? $81. On a typically more profitable vehicle like the Buick LaCrosse, the previous base margin was nearly $1,350. Now? It barely breaks $150.

Lower price, fewer discounts

Compact car profit margins are typically small, but this is unusual and dealers are unlikely to provide discounts. We've already seen the telltale signs with the exclusion of the Cruze L from this month's incentives. While it's too soon to say if the Equinox L, Terrain SL, and LaCrosse 1SV will see similar exclusions, it wouldn't be surprising.

Our take

We expect the lower prices in advertising will resonate with shoppers, but that dealers will keep these stocked at minimal levels, if at all. We advise shoppers to be sure to check for incentive exclusions when shopping to avoid surprises.

Prices listed above exclude manufacturer destination charges. For more information about pricing and deals, be sure to visit the CarsDirect Pricing Insider page for insights on over 300 models, updated monthly. Subscribe to email alerts to get updated buying advice each month after the incentives change.

>> Read our pricing and deals analysis for the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze

>> Learn how the Chevrolet Equinox compares with the Honda CR-V

>> Research pricing and specs for the 2015 GMC Terrain

>> See how the Buick LaCrosse stacks up against the Toyota Avalon

, Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing analyst, Alex offers must-know analysis of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured in publications such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Autoblog.

Follow On: Twitter | Website

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