Some New Models from GM Fetch Much Higher Prices

Last Updated Oct 13, 2009 11:51 AM EDT

Don't expect General Motors to crow about this to consumers, but to auto industry and analysts and reporters, GM is bragging that some of its newer models are selling for thousands of dollars more than the models they replaced.

That's due to several factors. GM says consumers like the new models more, because of all-around attributes like better quality, improved styling, more features and better gas mileage.

In addition to those outwardly visible factors, it's to be expected that new replacement models carry lower discounts than the older models they replaced. It's also a given that GM carefully chose its statistics to show itself in the best possible light.

Even so, the hike in transaction prices is encouraging news for the reorganized company. The transaction price, not to be confused with sticker price, or Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, is what consumers actually pay, including options.

Within the industry, transaction price data is available for a price from the Power Information Network, a division of J.D. Power and Associates, but it's unusual for an automaker to discuss transaction prices.

For instance, at a transaction price of around $31,000, the latest Buick LaCrosse is selling for about $7,200 more than the model it replaced, according to GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson.

In the first nine months of 2009, the average transaction price of the Cadillac CTS at more than $39,000 was more than $10,000 ahead of the same period in 2007, Henderson said in an Oct. 8 webcast.

Comparing the same time frames, transaction prices for the Chevrolet Malibu were up almost $4,000 to almost $21,000, he said.

And in September 2009, the average transaction price for the Chevy Equinox at about $25,600 was more than $3,000 ahead of the first half of 2009, Henderson said.

Behind the scenes, there's bound to be a lot of less-encouraging data within GM, but at least within the narrow window GM chooses to share, it looks as if the company's strategy is having some measurable success.

Slide: GM