Motorists have gotten used to the idea of incentives. In fact, it’s the rare model that will sell without some sort of giveback, whether cash rebates, low interest loans or, as one GMC dealer is pitching, five tons of free gas.
Before you rush to your local showroom for the new GMC Sierra Denali, the small print is that this dealer is located in Shanghai.
It’s not the first time free gas has been used as a come-on. Chrysler and several other manufacturers have offered that deal in the past here in the U.S., but it’s gaining new traction in China as the government backs off on restrictions that had traditional held fuel prices down. The cost at the pump in Shanghai and Beijing is now starting to approach U.S. levels, a particular hardship for most motorists considering the average Chinese wages.
The Sierra Denali doesn’t target the typical salaryman, however, not at a price equivalent to about $134,000, notes John McElroy, of Autoline Detroit. Nonetheless, even the rich are feeling the pinch on rising fuel costs, it seems.
The Shanghai dealer’s offer is equal to a bit less than 2,000 gallons of gasoline considering a metric ton is 2,200 pounds and a gallon of gas weighs around six pounds. At current prices in Shanghai that works out to a roughly $8,000 discount at current exchange rates.
Unlike most of the products General Motors sells in China the GMC Sierra Denali is an import, the hefty duties one reason why it costs more than double what the same truck commands in the States.
The first full-size import pickups began showing up in the Chinese market only in 2009, according to the China Times. And while some are actually being used for work it appears that a sizable share are, in the Chinese paper’s words, “man toys.” The challenge is that such trucks often can’t fit down the narrow streets in many parts of Shanghai and other big Chinese cities, so dealers have been coming up with creative alternatives to spur demand.