Chevrolet Coronavirus Financia...

Jeff Youngs | April 14, 2020

As the most popular brand at America’s largest automaker, Chevrolet serves an important role for General Motors (GM) and, it could be argued, for the U.S. auto industry as a whole. After all, in times of hardship and crisis, we look to leaders for guidance. With the coronavirus continuing to wreak havoc on daily routines, the job market, and financial markets alike, GM and its Chevrolet brand have announced a number of initiatives to help both consumers and America’s frontline healthcare workers and, by extension, those afflicted with the disease.

Chevrolet Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

To help in the fight against the deadly coronavirus, GM has converted its Warren, MI, facility to produce much-needed surgical-grade face masks for healthcare workers. At maximum capacity, the facility can produce up to 50,000 masks per day, or approximately 1.5 million each month. Soon, the company will fire up a new line that will produce filtering facepiece respirators. GM is also working with partners to source and manufacture ventilators at its Kokomo, IN, plant. The automaker is working with Ventec Life Systems to produce the Ventec V+Pro ventilators for seriously ill patients.

On the traditional side of the business, Chevrolet is making it safer and easier for customers to purchase a new car, truck or SUV via its “Shop. Click. Drive.” Initiative. An online shopping method, Shop Click Drive allows buyers to find a new vehicle, choose extended warranties, and schedule delivery at home or elsewhere. Chevrolet is also offering its existing customers assistance through coronavirus car payment plans and other helpful services, while potential buyers enjoy numerous financing, discount, and payment deferral programs.

Chevrolet Customer Relief Programs - Find the best deals!

To help existing customers who might have trouble making their car payments due to illness or financial distress caused by job loss, Chevrolet is waiving certain late fees on loans and leases from March 1 to April 30. If this applies to you, the company has stated that there is no action required on your part and thus no need to contact customer service; the fees will be automatically waived.

Also, existing customers who financed through GM Financial (GMF) can request payment deferral. Customers are asked to contact GMF to pursue this avenue, though the company points out that late payment might be a better option so as not to accrue additional interest. For existing lease customers, Chevrolet is offering an automatic one-month lease extension if you are nearing the end of your lease.

As an added perk, the company is making its OnStar Crisis Assist services available to Chevrolet owners at no cost for a limited time. Crisis Assist provides access to specially trained advisors who are available around the clock to assist in an emergency or crisis situation. Additionally, Chevrolet is providing owners with three months of complimentary in-vehicle Wi-Fi service at no charge, with a data limit of 3GB. Owners can access their data through the Wi-Fi hotspot in their vehicle, if so equipped.

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Chevrolet New Car Incentives - Find the best deals!

Chevrolet already had a healthy dose of incentives on most of its vehicles before the onset of the coronavirus, but drastic times call for drastic measures.

In an unprecedented move, Chevrolet is offering on many of its models 0% (APR) financing for 84 months for “very well-qualified buyers” plus no monthly payments for 120 days when you finance with GM Financial. The special rate and payment deferral incentive is valid for most 2019 models as well as the 2020 Equinox, Silverado 1500, Trax, and Bolt EV. Note that customers must take delivery by April 30, 2020, and the payment deferral does not apply to leases.

In addition to the aforementioned 84-month, zero-interest promotion, Chevrolet has a sign-and-drive deal that consists of no money down, no security deposit, and no payment the first month. You simply pay tax, title, license and dealer fees and off you go. Only those with good credit will qualify, however.

Also, to help those on the frontlines, the Chevrolet First Responder Discount has been extended to healthcare professionals through June 30, 2020. If this pertains to you, your local Chevrolet dealer can provide pricing.

Chevrolet Factory Closures - Find the best deals!

To ensure the safety of its workers and adjust vehicle production to current levels of demand, GM on March 18 announced that it would begin to shut its manufacturing operations in North America. “GM and the UAW have always put the health and safety of the people entering GM plants first, and we have agreed to a systematic, orderly suspension of production to aid in fighting COVID-19/coronavirus,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

Initially, the shutdown was to be in effect until March 30, but as the COVID-19 situation worsened the automaker was forced to extend the suspension indefinitely. As of this writing, no date has been announced for production to restart.

This is a significant development not only for Chevrolet and GM, but for America due to the numbers involved. In the U.S. alone, GM has 11 vehicle assembly plants, 10 propulsion facilities, five metal centers, four components holding facilities, one tooling center, and one battery assembly facility. All told, the closures represent hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and not all are getting paid. At that scale, it has a significant effect on the economy.

Chevrolet Economic Outlook & Sales Forecast - Find the best deals!

While Cadillac may be GM’s prestige brand, at the end of the day, Chevrolet is much more important to the company’s bottom line.

All things considered, Chevrolet weathered the coronavirus-induced sales downturn in the first quarter rather well, compared to most other brands. For the quarter, Chevrolet sales were only down 3.8 percent, compared with a decline of 7.1 percent for GM and more than 12 percent for the industry. Clearly, things could have been worse for the bow tie brand. And that’s good news for GM. Because if Chevrolet coughs, GM catches a cold (or, more appropriately, a nasty virus).

Like other automakers, Chevrolet is unwilling to make official predictions about how the pandemic will affect its annual sales. Industrywide, J.D. Power predicts a decline of up to 65% for April, and a year-end sales volume of as few as 12.2 million vehicles, down substantially from its pre-virus estimate of 16.9 million units.

Looking ahead, Chevrolet is well positioned to hit the ground running when the economy opens back up. Americans love their trucks and gas is cheap, both of which play to Chevy’s strengths.

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