GM’s “Last Call” for remaining Pontiacs and Saturns
By George Straton
Those who shop Neiman Marcus, the Dallas based high end retailer, are certain to be familiar with their “Last Call” end-of-year sales event where Sunkist bright orange Giorgio Armani sports jackets can be garnered at stupendous markdowns. That is, if you fancy a Sunkist orange sports jacket.
Well, GM seems to be resorting to a similar event to clear the inventory of unsold new Pontiacs and Saturns that found no takers during this past August’s government-subsidized Cash Allowance Rebate “Cash for Clunkers” event.
In a cash-to-dealer incentive program announced yesterday dealers will be eligible for $7,000 from GM for each vehicle sold to rental-vehicle or servic-evehicle fleets. The effect of this is that the vehicles will then be classified as used cars (because the dealer would be considered the vehicle’s first owner), and dealers will then be able to sell them at even steeper discounts to prospective customers. The deal also will have the likely effect of boosting GM’s December sales results at least somewhat.
There is a catch, though. according to GM spokesperson Tom Henderson, as of November 30th, which was one month ago, there were some 14,000 unsold new Pontiacs and Saturns on dealer lots. Assuming 80% of that figure was still on those lots as of yesterday that amounts to approximately 5-6 cars per dealer. And the incentive program expires Monday January 4, 2009.
Talk about time to buy a Pontiac Solstice, sister Saturn Sky or a G8 GT – all of which are respectable offerings. Or, for those prefer the utility and economy of a Toyota Matrix, a sibling Pontiac Vibe.
It will be interesting to see how many Pontiacs and Saturns remain in dealer inventory after this promotion ends. As a commentor to our Saab piece from yesterday noted, he works at a dealership that still has a new 2007 Saab 9-7x SUV in inventory. The last Oldsmobiles took years to work their way off of the monthly sales charts. Will there be stragglers at GM’s former “excitement division” or its former “Different kind of company/different kind of car” division?
Buyers on your mark… get set….Go.
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