Body Type:Pickup Truck
For Sale By:Dealer
Model: Sierra 1500
Sub Model: EXT CAB 4X4
Exterior Color: Other
Number of Cylinders: 8
Huntersville, North Carolina, United States
During the economic downturn, many car dealerships counteracted their slowing income by focusing on things that would set them apart from competition - things like the quality of customer service they provide. When the economy picked up and more sales and service followed, many also first invested those funds back into the business, improving their dealership facilities and service centers.
It looks like those investments are paying off, as J.D. Power and Associates' latest Customer Service Index Study shows that overall consumer satisfaction with dealer service has increased to 797 (on a 1,000-point scale), up from 787 in 2012 and 29 points higher than the score in 2011. The study also finds that people are more satisfied with the service they get at dealerships compared to independent service providers, despite the much higher average out-of-pocket cost per visit ($118 vs. $44).
Note, however, that this study only looks at how people are treated by a dealer's service department during the first three years of ownership (the survey is based on responses from 91,000 owners and lessees of 2008 to 2012 model year vehicles), so we're talking about the experience had when bringing a car in for repair or maintenance work, most likely under warranty. In fact, maintenance work is increasing in share and accounted for 77 percent of service visits (up from 72 percent in 2012 and 63 percent in 2011). This helps explain why customer satisfaction has also risen, since a properly maintained car is one that's less likely to require a dealer visit for an unexpected repair.
In the market for a fullsize van but don't need a heavy-duty model? You're in the minority, and you're also out of luck. That's because there are barely any more fullsize vans on the market with gross vehicle weight rating of less than 8,500 pounds, the threshold that separates light- and heavy-duty vans.
According to PickupTrucks.com, neither the Ford E-Series, Ram ProMaster, nor Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are available in light-duty versions. Few of the Ford Transit configurations are, either, and now General Motors is discontinuing production of the 1500-series Chevy Express and GMC Savana.
Apparently light-duty versions accounted for just 23 percent of Express sales and only 7 percent of Savanas. Add to that the fact that these 1500 versions were the only ones using the old generation of engines and suspension, and that the Wentzville plant near St. Louis, Missouri, is trying to make room for the next Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, and the fate of the light-duty GM van was sealed.
As Ford prepares to hit the market with its x-factor, aluminum-intensive F-150 and Ram sales stand tall enough to meet General Motors truck sales eye-to-eye, GM is putting the word out that it's going to add more features to its trucks and do so more regularly. An executive engineer for pickups told reporters that "a whole array" of changes are on the way as soon as the 2015 model year and then would likely come "the year after that, the year after that, the year after that."
Only GM knows the way it plans to go with its fullsize trucks, with almost everyone else - including its dealers - griping about market share at the same time as they applaud profits and hope for clarity and growth. GM raised prices on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra not long after launch even as it was losing market share and getting called "the least successful large pickup launch over the last 15 years," further upsetting dealers, then Ram outsold the Silverado in March of this year and led GM to increase incentives. But transaction prices rose with the premium; in the first quarter of this year more than 37 percent of the trucks costing more than $40,000 were the Silverado and Sierra, leading one dealer to say of the Sierra, "You can't sell a cheap one," and the analyst who made that "least successful launch" comment to opine, "GM may have made the right call to go for price over share."
We won't know for a few months what any of these updates will be, but the rumored changes for the Silverado and Sierra appear to cover all the bases, including appearance, capability and fuel economy. Rumors run to higher gear counts, stop-start technology and diesel engines before brand-new pickups come for the 2019 model year, those next-generation models supposedly to be engineered with a lot more aluminum.