The Special Costco Silverado
When you think of Costco, you probably think about buying lots of stuff for your home and your family, but there are probably some things that don’t necessarily come to mind when you think of the membership-based store chain.
Like, say, diamonds. Or fine wine. Or Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Crew Cab with special 22-inch alloy wheels, Tonneau cover, factory sprayed-in bed liner, and a bright-chrome grille with a black Chevy bowtie in the center.
But Jeff Skeen, president of the CostcoAuto program points out that: Costco is the biggest seller of both diamonds and fine wine in the U.S., and last year it was responsible for the sale of 465,000 vehicles (through specially picked dealers) to its members.
Notably, of that total, there were 58,000 GM vehicles sold during a 90-day period that was a special promotion between the automaker and the retailer.
Skeen points out that the first year they had a promotion with GM some 10,000 vehicles were moved. The second year it was 21,000, the third, 41,000, and then the 58,000 last year.
Given the success of this program, the two organizations decided to try something new.
Thus the Costco Special Edition Silverado.
What’s particularly interesting about this is that the features of the truck were, in effect, crowd sourced.
Skeen explains that Costco collects comprehensive information about the types of vehicles and trim levels that its members buy through its program. They were able to aggregate this information to determine what vehicle should be selected and with what features.
They knew that the Silverado was a favorite among its customers, and not base models of the truck. (Remember the diamonds and the wine? Costco members may be looking for value, but this doesn’t mean that they’re looking for vehicles with hand-cranked windows.)
GM is building 5,000 of the trucks. The trucks are going to be available from April 1 to May 31—or until they run out.
(Apparently, the production volume of the truck is limited by the availability of the special wheels. While it is possible to order some of the other features from a dealer, the whole package is exclusive only to the Costco edition, and the wheels are only available on this package.)
It should be pointed out that Costco works with established dealers; this isn’t a Tesla-like situation where they’re trying to sell without them.
Depending on how well this special edition program works, Skeen says, there is the potential that Costco could work to configure other vehicles.
The previous-generation Hyundai Elantra (2010 to 2015) had the edgy Fluidic Sculpture design forming its sheet metal; it’s bigger brethren, the Sonata, was more visible in this regard, though the smaller size of the Elantra gave the skin a greater tautness than was the case on the Sonata.
The Buick LaCrosse has been Buick’s top-line car since it was introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model sedan.
What happens if that $2.29 a gallon goes up by a couple of bucks a year from now? How are the pickup, SUV and crossover sales going to be then?