GM assures analysts of pricing ‘discipline’ amid increasing truck reductions


March 6, 2014 – 7:24 am ET

DETROIT (Reuters) — Standard Motors has been ratcheting up special discounts on its total-dimension pickups more than the last month, but it is telling Wall Street analysts it intends to sustain premium pricing and margins on the trucks in spite of a drop in volume and marketplace share.

On Tuesday, Chuck Stevens, GM’;s new chief financial officer and a crucial member of CEO Mary Barra’;s executive team, was dispatched to New York to update Wall Street analysts on the automaker’;s economic outlook, including the functionality of its big trucks.

A essential message, in accordance to analysts: GM stays targeted on preserving pricing “discipline,” particularly on the hugely lucrative full-dimension pickups in a highly combustible and fluid U.S. market place.

GM is “working on advertising approaches to obtain traction at the lower finish of the (pickup) industry with no giving up pricing gains at the high end,” mentioned UBS Securities in a Wednesday consumer note.

Analysts reacted guardedly to the message and observed that GM unveiled number of specifics about latest incentives.

GM is launching March revenue promotions at Chevrolet as properly, describing the effort as an “unprecedented promotional assault.”

New information on February income incentives, released to Reuters late on Wednesday by 2 sector research companies, displays growing special discounts on GM trucks.

Common per-motor vehicle special discounts on GM’;s 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup jumped far more than $ 500 to $ 4,218 in February, from $ 3,715 in January, according to Autodata, even as Silverado sales fell 12 percent from February 2013 and Chevrolet’;s share of the full-dimension truck segment dropped much more than 3 percentage factors to 22.5 %.

In comparison, Ford Motor Co. sliced discounts in February on its market-leading F-series pickups to $ 2,835. F-series revenue rose almost 3 percent from the earlier 12 months, commanding far more than 34 % of the segment.

GM redesigned the Silverado and GMC Sierra last summer time. Ford plans to launched a redesigned F-150 late this yr.

GM confirmed the meeting amongst Wall Street and CFO Stevens. A GM spokesman, asked about the February incentives, explained investing rose in February to aid decrease inventories of older heavy-duty versions of the Silverado and Sierra as the redesigned hefty-duty versions started to arrive at U.S. dealers.

The regular truck incentives at GM had been skewed by significantly greater discounts averaging up to $ 5,972 on the heavy-duty Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models, which industrial customers prefer, and reduce discounts of $ 3,593 on the light-duty Silverado 1500, aimed at consumers, in accordance to analysis company Edmunds.com.

GM has a bit much more area to maneuver on revenue incentives, which includes rebates, simply because its average per-vehicle transaction prices, which contain any discount rates, continue to be greater than Ford.

In February, GM boasted one particular of the industry’;s highest average transaction prices on its U.S. autos: $ 34,090, down a fraction from $ 34,306 in January. In comparison, Ford’;s ATP rose somewhat to $ 32,625, from $ 32,307 in January, in accordance to research firm TrueCar.

GM’;s pricing edge has an upside and a downside: Although the automaker says it nonetheless can not develop ample of its a lot more pricey large-end trucks, revenue of lower-finish V6 versions are still weak.

Analysts left the meeting with the GM CFO with out main considerations.

Barclays auto analyst Brian Johnson, in a Wednesday client note soon after the GM briefing, explained that GM’;s beefy transaction costs, especially on large-margin pickups, “provide some space for enhanced incentive use if essential” later on in the year.

The 2 Chevrolet and Ford dealers have been supplying unwanted fat special discounts of $ 9,000 and a lot more on their big trucks, with dealers contributing a portion of the savings.

GM’;s and Ford’;s full-dimension trucks are amid the most profitable vehicles in the industry, accounting for a lot more than 2-thirds of U.S. automakers’; global pre-tax earnings even though they make up just 16 % of North American motor vehicle manufacturing.

Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault, in a client note, mentioned “the stage (is) set for year-on-year margin acceleration” at GM in the 2nd and third quarters, driven in component by the current launch of the heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra pickups and companion Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon complete-dimension SUVs.

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