Car prices have risen to record levels. Car companies have started to raise some prices for specific reasons, beyond the supply chain troubles that have snared production. General Motors has become the latest manufacturer to tack on a charge for a feature that has been free or that could be declined by buyers.
The car industry’s lack of supply began more than a year ago. After dealers were shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession it caused started to fade, buyers swarmed to purchase new cars. Far too few were available, a problem that persists today. The shortages have even brought accusations that dealers have forced buyers to pay more than the manufacturers allow.
One of the most staggering price increases was just imposed by Ford on its F-150 Lightning. The increase across the models averages about $7,000. Ford says the cost of material used in its batteries has soared. The extra $7,000 will slacken demand and push buyers to rival Silverados and Rams.
GM will make buyers of some models pay $1,500 for OnStar, the company’s decade-old navigation and communications service. According to CNN, “General Motors is selling three years of OnStar service as a $1,500 ‘option’ on all Buick and GMC vehicles, as well as on Cadillac Escalade SUVs. But this is an option you can’t refuse.” It is a heavy-handed way to collect more money.
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Car companies have started to increase prices for a variety of reasons that will drive some buyers to turn to competing models from other manufacturers. In fact, the OnStar charge could easily backfire. The $1,500 charge could cost GM much more than it nets.
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Manufacturers have started to get greedy as they take advantage of vehicle shortages. Buyers have long memories, and when the shortage ends, those memories will have consequences.
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