General Motors promised that it would develop some innovative sales promotions this summer, and we have to say that it delivers with a newly-announced offer for Florida and California residents who buy selected SUVs and midsize sedans.

Buyers will be issued a pre-paid credit card, which will be credited monthly with reimbursement for gasoline costs above and beyond $1.99/gallon until December of 2007. The credit will be based on the published AAA price for premium fuel and the actual mileage driven (tracked via OnStar, natch), and so those who rack up the miles could end up with a substantial chunk of change back in their pockets - especially if gas prices continue towards pessimists' projections of $4/gallon (or worse).

The gas credit applies to the Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, Monte Carlo, and Impala; the GMC Yukon, Hummer's H2 and H3, the Cadillac SRX, Pontiac's Grand Prix, and Buick's new Lucerne. GM claims that the vehicles were selected for their "outstanding fuel economy and great consumer appeal".

Check out the full press release from the General after the jump...

[Source: GM]


GM Offers Gas Price Protection to Consumers in Florida and California

Regional Program Caps Gas Prices at $1.99 per Gallon for Eligible Vehicles OnStar Technology Key to GM's Unique Offer

ALPHARETTA, GA – GM today announced its "GM Fuel Price Protection Program." This regional program caps what consumers pay for gas at $1.99 a gallon when they purchase select 2006 and 2007 GM full-size utilities and mid-size cars.

"This program gives consumers an opportunity to experience the highly fuel-efficient vehicles GM has to offer in the mid-size segment," said Dave Borchelt, GM Southeast regional general manager. "It helps protect consumers against rising fuel prices by providing them with a partial credit for their fuel purchases for one year."

The credit is based on the consumer's estimated fuel usage each month. Fuel consumption is calculated based on the mileage driven, as recorded by OnStar and the EPA city fuel economy mileage rating for the vehicle.

Using the calculation of the consumer's estimated fuel usage each month, they will be credited for the difference between the average price per gallon of premium fuel in their state, as published by the Automobile Association of America (AAA), and the $1.99 gas price protection cap.

The credit will be applied each month to a pre-paid card, which will be issued to the consumer. The credits are good until December 31, 2007 and may be used for any type of purchase at any location that accepts MasterCard. There is no mileage limitation.

"This is a unique offer that only GM is making," said Mike Jackson, GM North America vice president, Vehicle Brand Marketing/Advertising. "This program leverages some of our greatest strengths, including great new GM vehicles, often with some of the best fuel economy ratings in their class, and leading edge OnStar technology. To top it off, we're now offering consumers in Florida and California protection against rising fuel prices."

A California resident who purchases a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and drives it 1,000 miles a month, would realize an estimated $103.75 monthly credit, based on the current average premium fuel price of $3.65/gallon (as of May 15). A Florida resident who purchases a 2006 Buick LaCrosse with the standard V-6 engine and drives about 1,000 a month, would see an estimated monthly credit of $60, based on the current average premium fuel price of $3.19/gallon in that state.

"The services offered by OnStar are another example of how GM is using technology and innovation to deliver added value to its customers," said Chet Huber, president, OnStar. "The diagnostic e-mail service is a GM-exclusive and enables only GM to offer consumers a credit for their gas purchases based on the actual mileage that they drive ."

Beginning on May 25, consumers will be able to go to a special web site (www.fuelprotection.com) to calculate their potential savings based on their vehicle selection.

To participate in the program, consumers who reside in California and Florida must purchase or lease and take delivery of an eligible vehicle between May 25 – July 5, 2006 and enroll in the OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics service. The diagnostic service is a GM exclusive service that automatically runs hundreds of diagnostic checks on key vehicle operating systems and then sends a monthly e-mail to subscribers about their vehicle.

Eligible vehicles in California include the 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban (one-half ton models only), Impala and Monte Carlo; GMC Yukon and Yukon XL (one-half ton models only); HUMMER H2 and H3; Cadillac SRX; Pontiac Grand Prix; and Buick Lucerne.

Eligible vehicles in Florida include the 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick LaCrosse.

The vehicles selected for this program were chosen because of their outstanding fuel economy and great consumer appeal. The 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe leads the full-size utility segment in fuel economy and has a two-wheel-drive EPA highway estimate of 22 mpg. The Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL have EPA highway estimates of 21 mpg.

GM's mid-size cars also offer very competitive fuel economy with the Pontiac Grand Prix achieving an EPA estimated 30 mpg highway. That is better than a comparably equipped Honda Accord 6-cylinder (29 mpg highway). The Buick LaCrosse also has an estimated highway mileage of 30 mpg (with standard V6 engine).

Advertising primarily will be executed divisionally and regionally in each market. Divisional advertising will include television, radio, print and interactive. It will focus on the outstanding fuel economy of GM vehicles and the gas price protection offered only by GM. There will be some corporate print, radio and interactive advertising to kick off the program. Corporate advertising begins on May 25, and divisional/local advertising begins on May 26.


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