Buick Coronavirus Financial Re...

Jeff Youngs | April 15, 2020

Despite not being a volume brand in the United States, Buick serves an important role globally for parent automaker General Motors. In China, for instance, Buick vehicles are extremely popular, and the marque is considered an aspirational brand. Considering the size of China’s auto market, this is more than enough reason for GM to keep investing in Buick and introduce new models both at home and abroad.

Buick Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car IncentivesIn a most unwelcome development, Buick’s connection with China has manifested itself in a different way recently, as the coronavirus outbreak has affected not only the citizens of that country (and, to be sure, the world) but also the fortunes of the car brand the Chinese so lovingly adore.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and in an effort to provide financial and medical relief to those affected, Buick, through parent GM, is taking a number of actions. In addition to existing customer relief and programs designed to entice new buyers to the fold, Buick and GM are making personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical front-line workers like doctors and nurses and are working with partners to source and manufacture ventilators for the sickest COVID-19 victims.

Additional Buick coronavirus car payment plans and programs include the following.

Buick Customer Relief Programs

Similar to what GM is offering to current owners of Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles, Buick owners may take advantage of several different programs designed to help those who are feeling the economic pinch from the coronavirus.

First, Buick is offering to waive certain late fees on loans and leases for customers who financed through GM Financial (GMF). The offer is good through April 30, 2020, and customers need not contact GMF to take advantage of the benefit; the fees will be automatically waived.

Second, Buick customers who financed through GMF can request payment deferral. And, for existing lease customers, Buick is offering an automatic one-month lease extension if you’re nearing the end of your lease.

Current Buick owners also benefit from free OnStar Crisis Assist services for a limited time, as well as three months of complimentary in-vehicle Wi-Fi service up to 3GB of data usage. 

 
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Buick New Car Incentives

GM has rolled out to most of its brands a special 0% (APR) financing offer for up to 84 months. The offer applies to most 2020 Buick SUV models, and is limited to “very well-qualified buyers.” On the Buick Regal, zero-interest financing is available for up to 72 months or buyers can take advantage of a $5,500 rebate. The all-new Buick Encore GX carries a $1,500 cash rebate.

Additionally, Buick buyers can also choose to defer their monthly payments for up to 120 days. Note that this offer is not available on leases, and you must take delivery by April 30.

Also, as a way of saying “thanks” to the many frontline healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to contain the spread of COVID-19 and care for those afflicted, GM is extending to that group a special vehicle discount for first responders, available through June 30, 2020. Contact your local Buick dealer for discounted vehicle pricing.

Lastly, through GM’s “Shop. Click. Drive.” online buying program, you can shop for and arrange the purchase of a new Buick online. Some dealers will also arrange to have the vehicle delivered to your home.

Buick Factory Closures

As of this writing, all GM North America manufacturing operations, including those that build Buick vehicles, are shut until further notice. Initially, the shutdown was expected to end on March 30, but that date has been extended as the region continues to battle COVID-19.

While some automakers have announced tentative plans to restart production later this month at reduced capacity at some facilities in North America, GM has yet to do so.

Buick Economic Outlook & Sales Forecast

Once viewed as GM’s geriatric brand, Buick has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past couple of decades. In that time, Buick has slowly but steadily gone from offering only standard passenger-car models to currently marketing SUVs almost exclusively.

In fact, the only non-SUV model in the brand’s 2020 lineup is the Regal, which itself has morphed from a traditional four-door sedan into a sloped-roof “sportback” (think Audi A5) and the TourX wagon (think Audi A4 allroad). The Regal is discontinued after 2020, leaving nothing but SUVs on the menu, including the all-new Encore GX – a slightly larger version of the small Encore SUV but smaller than the Envision.

While somewhat difficult for Buick’s traditional customer base and dealers to swallow, the switch to SUVs – part of a concerted effort to appeal to a younger audience – has saved the brand from suffering the same fate as other now-extinct GM brands, including Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saturn.

Despite a model mix that is primed for the U.S. auto market, Buick sales in the first quarter of 2020 dipped 35%. Adding insult to injury, the brand’s best seller, the Buick Encore subcompact SUV, saw its sales decrease by an even larger 42%. Still, with an SUV-heavy mix, Buick is well positioned for when the economy bounces back and people start buying new cars again.

The most recent J.D. Power sales forecast calls for between 12.2 million and 14.8 million sales, down from a pre-coronavirus estimate of 16.9 million vehicles.

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