General Motors dealerships across the country are expanding their fleets of rental vehicles from the manufacturer, according to a report from Auto News. These loaner vehicles are used by dealers for test drives, longer “demo” drives, and courtesy rentals to dealership customers while their personal cars are in the shop.
The expansion of General Motors’ Courtesy Transportation Program is beneficial for both the manufacturer, and the dealerships. Dealerships can sell the loaner cars for profit as used vehicles when the 90 day/7,500 mile loaner period is done, and still qualify for new car sales incentives through GM. And General Motors gets more of its wares into the hands of potential or loyal customers, which equates to some valuable advertising.
Of course, some dealerships are too small yet not to outsource the duty of obtaining rentals to a third party. For instance, many dealerships have an in-house branch of an agency such as Enterprise to manage courtesy cars for customers, because watching over a loaner car fleet requires more man-power than some dealerships have to spare.
But that means plenty of GM customers are going home with courtesy cars from other manufacturers, raising the risks of customer defection. Until General Motors is able to forge a path that enables these smaller dealerships to subscribe to the Courtesy Transportation Program, many loyal GM customers might look up to find themselves in a Ford.