The new GM is offering a 60-day guarantee on its new vehicles in hopes of attracting hesitant buyers to their showrooms. Beginning this Sunday and for the first time in the United States, General Motors will allow new vehicles to be returned within 60 days with no questions asked. The buyer will then receive a refund for the price of the car.
The following rules apply to the new program:
The vehicle must be a new 2009 or 2010 Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet or GMC.
• It must be returned between 31 and 60 days from purchase.
• It must have no more than 4,000 miles.
• The buyer can’t be behind in payments.
• If the purchase loan included an additional amount to pay off the loan on a trade-in above what the trade-in was worth, that portion won’t be refunded.
GM marketing chief Bob Lutz says, “We’re not going to have a screen full of warnings like in those drug ads where you see the happy geriatric couple and a guy is telling you, ‘Taking this medication while eating grapefruit can result in loss of eyesight’.” The program is meant to be simple and straightforward.
GM expects that no more than 2%-3% of consumers will want to use the money back guarantee, which is what they experienced when a similar program was launched in the U.K. a few years ago. Saturn (also a GM brand) had a similar offer to swap out cars for dissatisfied buyers but did not offer the refund at that time.
Lutz says that for GM, “doing nothing is not an option.” Sales have stalled, and buyers seem to be shying away from even considering the brand. For GM, the risks associated with the new guarantee deal do not outweigh the benefits of bringing in more sales.
Edward Whitacre, GM’s government-appointed chairman of the board, will be announcing the new program this Sunday on morning talk shows and during NFL football games. The announcements are said to be humble in approach, meant to garner consumer confidence and relay GM’s message that they understand the buyers’ hesitation in the light of this year’s events.
After this Sunday’s initial push, advertisements will be focused on Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC brands and aimed at competition with other automakers. The program, which may be extended, is scheduled to run through November of this year.