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Lincoln, Cadillac woo buyers with extras

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More discussion on the new maintenance coverage:

A mixed reception

The offers' varying lengths and coverage met with mixed reception among some analysts, however, who say Cadillac, in particular, didn't go far enough.

James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book, faulted Cadillac for failing to cover wear-and-tear items such as windshield wipers and brakes.

Cadillac's deal covers scheduled oil changes, tire rotations, engine and cabin air filters, and a multipoint vehicle inspection.

The offers should generate additional warranty and service profits for dealerships coping with sluggish retail sales, Bell said.

In addition, they should help ensure that owners take better care of leased and low-mileage vehicles, which ultimately will be resold by those same dealers, he said.

"Our bet says these programs become standard offerings from both U.S. manufacturers in the next year," Bell said.

The offers are not particularly novel -- many European brands have offered such perks for years -- but they do signal bids by Ford and GM to more aggressively pursue luxury segment leaders Mercedes and Lexus.

"The program is designed to raise satisfaction for owners by ensuring access to expert service," said Kurt McNeil, vice president of Cadillac sales and service. "It should lead to higher loyalty rates for dealers by establishing them as a valued resource for our customers."

The efforts also could increase margins for sales staff and ease the stress of buyers seeking freebies.

Each time Osen sells a Cadillac SRX, for example, his cut is $280 before taxes. But that amount shrinks after taxes and the $80 oil change that he routinely offers free to his customers.

The incentive also could help ensure leased vehicles are returned in better condition and easier to sell, Osen said.

"If the car gets fixed for free, what do they care?" Osen said. "I can't tell you how many lease turn-ins have the light on saying it needs an oil change."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100714/AUTO01/7140370/1148/Lincoln--Cadillac-woo-buyers-with-extras


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