Last week, GM kicked off stage 1 of their aggressive quest to win back the confidence of justifiably skeptical American consumers, introducing a 60-day return policy on all new vehicle purchases. The results have been lackluster at best.
According to the terms of GM’s new offer, customers have two choices: the 60-day money back guarantee, or a cold 5 hundo. For most, purchasing a new car is not like idly browsing for a new shirt at the mall and by the time you cruise onto the dealer lot with your down payment in hand, your decision has already been made. At that point, it’s no longer a question of whether or not you’re going to buy the vehicle but how much the F&I guy is going to try and pork your budget with the perpetually overpriced extended warranty. When presented with the option, most informed consumers would logically opt for the $500 rebate – and they are.
Since the program’s kick off September 14th, dealers are reporting that the vast majority of customers are declining participation in the 60-day trial period and choosing the cash rebate instead, which is still working wonders for GM’s reinvention campaign. In an ad released last week, GM chairman Ed Whitacre proclaimed “May the best car win,” effectively challenging John Q. Public to take advantage of the 60-day deal and hold GM accountable for its product quality. However, regardless of what one might assume after driving a Buick LeSabre, GM only expects to see a 1% return rate and a pretty sizable boost in sales, which is mighty presumptuous next to the false humility of their media blitz.
To put it bluntly, GM’s brilliant marketing maneuver is only intended to do what every one before it did, and that’s get people in the dealership. Once there, the credo morphs from “May the best car win” to “May the cheapest car win” and it doesn’t matter whether the customer chooses the return policy or the cash, just as long as they’re moving product off the lot.
Bottom line: Shiesty, but nonetheless well played GM.
Source: U.S. News
Image Cred: Reuters Pictures