WASHINGTON -- General Motors Corp. said yesterday that it will increase the price of its 1995 cars by an average of 2.9 percent, or $539, above comparably equipped 1994 models.
The price of trucks will increase an average of 2 percent, or $414, said J. Michael Losh, who earlier this week was promoted to executive vice president of GM.
The amount of the increase will vary from model to model. For example, the suggested retail price of the Chevrolet Caprice sedan will rise only $182 to $19,728. The cost of an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera station wagon will rise $390 to $17,195.
Cadillac buyers will pay considerably more. GM increased the price of a Deville sedan by $1,910 to $34,900.
Mr. Losh said GM was announcing its price increases earlier than usual so that dealers could begin selling the new models as soon as they receive shipments.
Because GM is in the process of upgrading some of its models, dealers have complained that they haven't had enough cars in stock to meet demand.
Looking at GM's entire lineup of cars and trucks, Mr. Losh said prices would rise an average of 2.5 percent, equal to $494. He said this compares with price increases of roughly 2 percent a year over 1991-1994. He was speaking in Detroit, but GM had live television coverage of the news conference at its offices in other cities around the country.
Mr. Losh said he felt it would be difficult for import carmakers, especially the Japanese, to match the GM price increases because of the rising value of the yen against the dollar. He said the Japanese automakers have been raising prices at more than twice the rate of GM and other domestic automakers in recent years.
Mr. Losh said that half of the average price increase in cars and trucks is attributable to safety and environmental equipment. All of the 1995 GM passenger cars will have driver-side air bags, he said, and nearly 80 percent will have full frontal systems.
The price increases will be greater on models that are under going extensive changes. For instance, GM's Chevrolet Cavalier and Geo Metro cars, which will have all new designs, will cost 11 percent to 12 percent more, according to dealers contacted by Bloomberg Business News.
The Cavalier will start at $10,060, up from about $8,970 a year ago for the 1994 version, which is a 12-year-old design. Chevrolet's Geo Metro will start at $8,085, up from $7,295. GM said the models are more expensive because both are getting new features such as dual-front air bags.
Ford and Chrysler have not announced prices for their 1995 lines.
Mr. Losh said GM's passenger car deliveries are up 11 percent for the first six months of 1994, compared to an industry average of 7 percent.