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GM Boosts Prices As Pickup Battle Rages

Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:08am
Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors is adding a twist to the fight for supremacy in the red-hot U.S. pickup truck market: It's raising prices.

GM is adding almost $2,100 to the sticker price of the base 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. That's 8.5 percent above the price when the truck hit showrooms in the spring. Other versions of the Silverado, as well as the GMC Sierra, will see similar percentage increases.

Under the increases, the base sticker price on the Silverado will rise from $24,585 to $26,670, including shipping, according to GM's website.

Raising prices sounds like an odd way to boost sales. But industry analysts suspect it's a marketing ploy. They expect GM to raise incentives starting next month so dealers can advertise big discounts. Customers will feel they're getting a deal — whether they do or not depends on the size of the discount.

The move comes after GM's pickup sales fell 8 percent in September while its two biggest competitors saw increases. Sales of Ford's F-Series, the best-selling pickups in the U.S., rose 10 percent and Chrysler's Ram posted an 8 percent increase. The Detroit Three dominate U.S. full-size pickup truck sales with 90 percent of the market. The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan make up the remainder.

GM didn't offer the sweet deals Ford and Chrysler did last month, said Jesse Toprak, an analyst for the TrueCar.com auto pricing website. Raising prices and then adding incentives is common in the business. And truck buyers especially like to get deals, Toprak said.

GM officials may also be counting on a recent change in buying habits: U.S. consumers now pay less attention to the sticker price. Toprak says most buyers now research their cars and trucks online before buying. Many third-party auto websites suggest prices that people should pay that are below the sticker price, he said.

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