Buick Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Jeff Youngs | May 11, 2020

Though it’s not a volume brand in the United States, Buick serves an important role globally for parent automaker General Motors (GM). 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 to introduce new models both at home and abroad.

Buick Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

In 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 Chinese consumers 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 also 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.

The full run-down of Buick coronavirus car payment plans and programs is as follows.

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 May 31, 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.

Alternatively, buyers can take advantage of cash rebates amounting to as much as $5,500. Even the all-new Buick Encore GX carries a $1,500 cash rebate. Additionally, Buick buyers can also choose to defer their first monthly loan payment for up to 120 days. All of these offers are valid through June 1, 2020.

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, will re-start production on May 18. Initially, the shutdown was expected to end on March 30, but that date was extended as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened.

Only the Buick Enclave is made in the U.S. GM’s assembly plants in China, where the Buick Envision is made, resumed production in mid-February. The Buick Encore and Encore GX are built in South Korea, where shortages of parts to build the SUVs has caused hiccups in production. The pandemic shut down Buick Regal production in Germany, and since the car is discontinued after the 2020 model year, more examples of the rebadged Opel are unlikely to roll off of the assembly line.

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 transformed from offering only car models to, for the 2021 model year, nothing but SUVs. While somewhat difficult for Buick’s traditional customer base and dealers to accept, 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 marques 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.

GM posted a $294 million profit for the first quarter of 2020, in part due to strong sales of pickups and large SUVs during the last two weeks of March after the automaker announced zero-interest loans. Dhivya Suryadevara, the company’s chief financial officer, admits the second quarter will be more challenging but would not provide further guidance.

"We are not providing formal guidance at this time," Suryadevara reportedly said on a conference call. "It's too early to tell until the economy opens up."

At the start of 2020, J.D. Power forecasted light vehicle sales of 16.9 million units in 2020. In light of the pandemic, that forecast now calls for between 12.6 million and 14.5 million sales by year-end.

The information in this article is from Buick and was accurate as of May 8, 2020. Plans and programs may have changed since that date. Be sure to confirm with Buick that offers discussed in this article remain valid.

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