GM’s “Last Call” for remaining Pontiacs and Saturns

By George Straton

12.31.2009

GM_LC_a_pontiac-logo-xlGM_LC_b_saturn-logoThose 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.

GM_LC_d_2009_Saturn_Sky_RedlineThere 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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Author: George Straton

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1 Comment

  1. ‘servic-evehicle’

    I’m still a bit confused at this though. You wrote that “dealers will be eligible for $7,000 from GM for each vehicle sold to rental-vehicle or service-vehicle fleets.” So where does this leave us, the public consumer?

    It seems that even if they DO sell the vehicles to other companies, it doesn’t really do anything for the rest of us… I mean, yes, “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” part makes sense to me. Dealers do this all the time to move cars that don’t sell in order to resell them as used cars at a heavily discounted price (and also totally messing up the residuals but in this case, meh) after they get them back (if it was on loan) from other car service companies, including other dealers.

    So what exactly is going on here? That GM is totally screwing with the value of these cars? We’re definitely not getting that 7k incentive. Oh well, I’ll take a 5 door Astra if I can get it at $5,000 then. All that money saved off the sticker is going right back in the car come (the definite) repair time anyway.

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