The Price Is Right: GM Axes Cost of Numerous SUVs

Generally when we write about sticker prices for the upcoming model year, it’s to document a price hike – sometimes minor, sometimes major. Rarely does a manufacturer cut prices, especially in a hot segment.

However, it appears that’s exactly what The General is doing across three of its brands. A few machines take a haircut and give up some standard equipment, while others will simply have a Monroney bearing a smaller number next year.

According to CarsDirect, who dug into GM’s 2019 order guides, mid-level trims of various crossovers and SUVs are being repositioned a bit. For example, the 2019 Equinox 3LT, a trim which sits roughly in the middle of that model’s byzantine range, will now command $30,495 of the finest American dollars. That is $1,200 cheaper than last year.

However, the Driver Confidence Package – a feature that includes blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems, parking sensors, and a few other items – that was standard equipment has vanished. In its place, customers can pony up $1,545 for a Confidence & Convenience Package, an option that includes the aforementioned items plus dual-zone climate control, remote start, and heated seats.

The names of these option packages make me chuckle. It is this author’s opinion that any machine costing north of $30,000 should already include a great amount of convenience. As for the confidence, well, you’re on your own there.

Also, safety nannies like forward collision warnings were standard on all-wheel drive Equinox machines (Equinoxes? Equini?) whether customers wanted them or not. Now, they’re optional. This change shaves just under $2,000 off the price.

Its big brother, the Traverse LT (with leather) bins its standard 20-inch wheels and Bose sound system, cutting the price to $39,995. This will allow GM to advertise the thing as “starting under $40,000. Adding them back in jacks the sticker to $43,090. Last year’s truck included that equipment and was priced at $42,695.

Over on the Buick side of the showroom, the Encore’s top-rung Premium trim is AWOL, bringing the price of the most costly Encore down to $31,795 from $33,095. I will now pause to collect myself after realizing one can spec an Encore to that level of financial imprudence. Optional gear previously reserved for the Premium is now available on the Essence.

The Enclave drops its sticker price by a not-insignificant $2,300, down to $42,995. This is surely a play to add value and boost its market share, as the machine’s equipment levels remain the same.

Mid-level SLT trims at GMC are dropping by $500 on the Terrain and Acadia. On Terrain, that reduces the walk from a base model to just $2,800. If more people step up to the SLT from SLE, this may turn into a situation where a price cut actually encouraged people to spend more. By dropping the SLT’s price, it is possible that a few extra shoppers will pop for the snazzier trim. GMC also seems to be bundling adaptive cruise with their driver assistance tech package, adding value to that option and making it a better buy.

One thing left unmentioned (and that savvy shoppers should watch out for) is an increase in destination fees. Tacking on an extra two or three hundred dollars to that line of the sticker is a common way to increase transaction prices.

a version of this article first appeared on thetruthaboutcars.com

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