* Chevrolet attempting to ease buyer uncertainty
* Chevrolet accounts for 73 pct of GM's U.S. sales
By Bernie Woodall
DETROIT, July 10 General Motors Co's main brand, Chevrolet, is pushing two new programs designed to keep customers rolling into dealerships during July and August when some vehicles switch from 2012 models to 2013 models.
Jesse Toprak, an analyst with TrueCar.com, said that Chevrolet's lineup has improved in recent years and the programs are designed to lure buyers who are uncertain about GM's flagship brand and unsure about buying a car in the current economic climate.
"When things are uncertain, people don't want to buy cars," said Toprak. "You give them more reason to feel more confident about the purchase. If you don't like it, you have a way out."
The programs on offer include the "Love it or Return it" program that allows U.S. consumers in July and August to return new vehicles within 60 days of purchase if the cars meet certain conditions. Chevrolet is also offering a "no haggle" pricing policy on its 2012 models.
The return program by Chevrolet is similar to programs engineered by GM's global marketing chief Joel Ewanick and Chevrolet marketing head Chris Perry when both men plotted U.S. marketing strategy for Hyundai Motor America, the U.S. unit of Hyundai Motor Co.
Toprak said that GM has demanded a lot of expensive upgrades at its dealerships in the past three years and that the two programs are also an attempt to get consumers into the spruced-up stores.
The no-haggle pricing deal, which Chevrolet is calling "Total Confidence Pricing," covers 2012 model-year vehicles. Prices will be set at what is essentially the same price GM offers to employees of its auto parts suppliers, said Toprak.
Not haggling over retail car prices was a hallmark of the GM Saturn brand, which folded after the No. 1 U.S. automaker' s 2009 bankruptcy.
So far in 2012, Chevrolet has accounted for 73 percent of the 1.32 million new vehicles GM has sold in the U.S. market. GM's GMC brand has accounted for 15 percent, followed by Buick at 7 percent and Cadillac at 5 percent, according to Autodata Corp.