• Nov 24, 2009
Realizing that one of its keys to survival is retaining existing owners, General Motors is proactively enticing nearly one million customers – those loyal to now-closed dealerships – with significant financial incentives. According to Automotive News, GM started sending 950,000 letters out last week to customers of stores which have shut down or lost a brand franchise. Included in the correspondence are $1,000 to $2,000 discounts towards purchasing vehicles from one of GM's four surviving U.S. brands (the incentive amount is based on the customer's "likelihood to purchase a GM vehicle and the relative distance to the next closest dealer," according to a letter GM sent to dealers outlining the program).

General Motors has about 5,860 dealerships right now. A total of 1,839 have agreed to shut down by October of 2010, helping the company downsize to between 3,600 and 4,000 retailers over the long term. While this incentive is scheduled to end January 4, a second wave of incentives (including one targeting Saturn customers) is expected to begin early next year. In addition, GM has also issued a service offer which runs through May that includes free vehicle inspections and tire rotations to displaced customers.

The retention programs – obviously meant to move customers between stores – have dealer advocate groups up in arms. Some dealers are still actively trying to get their franchises off the "kill list," and GM has said recently that some may in fact be welcomed back into the fold. As such, Automotive News quotes Tamara Darvish, a leader of the Committee to Restore Dealer Rights as saying "This is an inappropriate time to take such an aggressive measure... If in fact dealer rights are to be restored, why would GM go in and move all those customers?"

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd | Image: Mark Ralston/Getty]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why wouldn't they remain in contact with their customers, they have warentee info, and customer considers themself a GM product driver. If customer moves from Michigan to Florida, they go to a Florida GM dealer for service or to buy a new one. not go back to origonal dealer. Once my warentee is up, my dealer will never see me again, but I will need to get parts and service ocationally.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it just me, or does that coupe next to the pick-up have a TON of negative camber on the rear wheel?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I dont know... could be lens warp?
      Noreen
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nobody is going to buy a car today, anyway....they are out of work!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love how all the signage is on vinyl printouts now. They should just put the Chevy logo on a big vinyl printout so when they sell the dealership to someone else they can just pull the duct tape off and be done with it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds like another Obama idea to me! GM cut off their nose to spite their face when they closed all of the Dealerships! They took the Tax Money and now they will pay the price. And I hate it! But they are closing all of their NON-UNION shops to satisfy the Unions, and this is another Obama Plan.

      May they burn in hell!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I got a letter as a buyer of a 2008 Pontiac. You can get you discount now, of they say you can tell them when in the future you want it. Since my Pontiac is only about a year and a half old now, I'm not going to be in the market anytime soon. But the latest you can push off your future discount is until December 2010.

      I can't blame them, because they need buyers now, not 5 or 10 years from now. But I don't know how many new sales this is going to get them from recent buyers. Only those that have need for a second new car, or those lucky few that replace their new cars after only a couple of years.
      BOB
      • 5 Years Ago
      THE REASON DEALERS ARE PISSED IS GM --OR OBAMA/UAW MOTORS HAVE CUT THE DEALERS PROFITS IN HALF...SEEMS EVERYONE TOOK IT IN THE REAR EXCEPT WHO???? THE UAW...THIS UAW WILL BE EVENTUALLY THE LOSERS AS GM WILL NEVER MAKE IT UNDER UNION LEADERSHIP---UNIONS ARE ALL ABOUT UNIONS AND COULD CARE LESS ABOUT ANYONE OR ANYBODY BUT THERE OWN SELF--THERE GREED AND AN VERY OVER RATED GROUP OS LOSERS...I WOULD NOT BUY A GM PRODUCT IF THERE 15K REBATES...
      Don
      • 5 Years Ago
      Since 1956 I have bought more than 80 new vehicles; most of them GM! I now have a Cadillac, a Chevy HHS, a GMC Suburban (yes, I still call the GMC a Suburban), a Chrysler PT Cruiser, and a Chevy PU. However, these will be the last GM and Chrysler products I will ever purchase...as long as the unions own 17% of GM and 55% of Chrysler, and Government (consider that, Obama and his Cronies) own most of the remainder of those once great companies. I have owned a few Fords (mostly pre 40's), but being a "staunch American" I will now buy new Ford Products,,,none of that "Pacific Rim" crap for me!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is there no end of what GM will do with taxpayers money? No wonder people buy foreign cars, the dealers and the companies play straight. What will GM do next? I see a Toyota in my future. I just can't trust GM anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i see backlash coming.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Awww.... Gravy train is going away.

        Being a dealer is a right, not a privilege?

        Wrong.

        Screw 'em.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bet these dealers never had a problem with GM mailing retention offers directly to 'their' customers before they were dumped. Why should they complain now???
        • 5 Years Ago
        sounds like Cash for Clunkers III to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM owner here. Where is my letter?
      • 5 Years Ago
      only dealers left are high overhead thief's in my area.They took away the small ,hard working dealers that appreciated my business!!!
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