OK, so we’ve all been reading about how the “new” GM is going to put customers first. And how the “new” GM isn’t building drek like my 1973 Chevy Vega (which came with a free case of oil in the hatch) and my 1986 NUMMI-built Chevy No-Go…er…Nova…which was designed to stall whenever the accelerator was pressed.
Now it seems that the best the new chairman of General Telephone and Motors, Ed Whitacre, brings to the mix is a reprieve of the desperation move Lee Iococca made when Chrysler emerged from one of its routine trips through bankruptcy court. Let’s take a look at the embarrassing result of Whitacre’s reported directive to create a massive new taxpayer-funded marketing program to get back market share. If this represents the best marketing the “new” GM can muster, I want my $60 billion back.
Update 2019-04-29: Removed (finally) a shockwave recording of the old GM chairman promising to do wonders for GM. Almost ten years later, it’s still a basket-case in terms of desirable cars.
The real question is, what if you really did want to take advantage of this “guarantee” to drive, say a new-generation Corsica…er…Malibu or you have forgotten that the F-platform Camaros competed with Yugos in the cellar of the quality ratings and you wanted a new one. What if a retread executive from, of all places, AT&T, convinced you that you really could get your money back if you didn’t like the bucket of bolts the polyester clad, red-faced liar at the local dealer sold you? What would that be like?
It would be something like this:
- You have to keep the thing at least 30 days — get this, called the “vesting period.” Amused yet? Yeah, they think they’re building equity with you during this period
- You don’t get back those noxious “fees” GM’s dealers charge you to process paperwork (hey…maybe restaurants will start charging separately for the water they wash dishes in and the paper they write the check on)
- Did you take a loan to buy your new lemon? The interest is — you got it — on your nickel
- No leases need apply
- What do you actually have to do to return the thing? Simple: return it to the dealer — who’s absolutely going to want to see you — and fill out a bunch of paperwork, including “any…documentation GM or the Administrator may reasonably request.”
Bottom line, GM is right back where it was…misleading people instead of building cars people want. As I once heard someone say, same circus, different clowns.
9/ 16 update: You gotta read…and I mean you gotta read TTAC’s post that details the dealers’ terms and conditions on this program. Check out #7. Dealers now have an incentive to sell you the car for close to MSRP…then buy it back at 67% (2009 models) or 74% of MSRP (2010 models), pocket the bogus fees they tacked on to the original sale, pocket another $1000 for their trouble, then resell the car your kid vomited on the carpet in and which you used to pull parking meters up and in which the upholstery was an ashtray to the next dupe for as much as the floor salesman can extract.
Geez…if this is GM insisting that its dealers treat customers better, I’d hate to see what’d happen if they declared open season on Grandma.