When General Motors put down several of its brands in recent years, it also let loose thousands of brand-loyal customers who will eventually need another car.

R.L. Polk Associates estimates there are more than 18 million cars from 16 discontinued makes on the road today. Those "orphan owners" have sales-hungry competitors seeing dollar signs. GM is offering Saturn owners $1,000 cash toward a Chevy Cruze, Cadillac CTS or a GMC Acadia. Ford is giving its Mercury lease customers a chance to get out of their contracts with no early-termination penalty and offering to waive six remaining payments if they drive off in a Ford or Lincoln.

Edmunds.com research shows the efforts are paying off somewhat for GM, with 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 37 percent of Hummer owners and 31 percent of Saturn owners taking delivery of another GM-branded vehicle. But that leaves as much as 69 percent of owners going elsewhere. Ford, Honda and Toyota seem to be attracting many former GM owners.

As Forbes points out, if you're driving an orphaned nameplate, you just might be able to use that to your advantage when shopping for a new vehicle.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      All true. But used car prices have skyrocketed so just keep your orphan as long as you can get parts and service for it.
        LynxFX
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        All the more reason to sell it now and get the most for it. You can get a lot of new cars for dealer cost right now. An orphaned used car is only going to drop faster than one with dealers strung around the country.
      Drachen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wonder if I could convince GM to give me $1000 off for my '02 Olds Intrigue.
      Dennis Baskov
      • 2 Years Ago
      When GM killed Pontiac, it left a huge gap in US car market. Since non of the GM products come anywhere close sportiness and pizzazz of Pontiac. Now they expect the owners to buy a boring Chevy or Buick instead!? GM needs to step its' game up and at least resurrect some Pontiac models.
        flychinook
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dennis Baskov
        With the exception of maybe the GTO and the G8, It had been a long time since Pontiac sold anything "sporty", and an even longer time since anything with "pizzazz" crossed their showroom floors.
      Brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is one sharp-looking Solstice Coupe in the photo for this article. I think that most of the orphaned GM customers (especially Pontiac and Saturn customers) will look elsewhere for their next car. I am a former Pontiac customer and I have to say, GM has absolutely nothing that interests me right now and they seem to be putting little effort into building all-around great vehicles. The GM of today seems to focus its efforts in certain areas of its new cars (ex: front end for the new Impala) and then fall flat on the rest of the design. Personally, I think that Kia of today has gained a lot of the soul that Pontiac once had and has been very aggressively improving the styling and driving experience of their cars. I think that they will gain many of Pontiac's former customers. I am actually planning to purchase an Optima SX Turbo myself when the time is right.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Same thing happened when Oldsmobile was killed.
      SYE
      • 2 Years Ago
      What I don't get is why GM rotates which extinct brand gets the $1000 rebate? 6 months ago Pontiac owners got $1000, now Pontiac owners don't, but Saturn owners do. What's the motivation behind that? I wanted to replace my Grand Prix with a Buick Regal, but instead went with a Grand Cherokee lease after the GM dealer told me the Pontiac rebate wasn't a current offer.
        tump
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SYE
        You took the dealer's word for it? Shame shame…
          The Wasp
          • 2 Years Ago
          @tump
          There's no shame in that -- if, as you imply, the dealer was lying about the rebate, then SYE did the right think by leaving and going to a different dealer.
          SYE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @tump
          Took the dealer's word on what? The last time the Pontiac $1000 rebate was offered was late 2011. You have other information you'd like to add?
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Randy
        • 2 Years Ago
        For me it is not the bailout of GM that bugs me. It saved a lot jobs in and out if the auto industry. What does bug me is that GM only allowed select people by invite to buy the new stock and gave a seemingly unfair advantage to the select few. Then, those select few got dividend payments while millions of others with common stock got nothing including precious stock holders, then they didn't pay the debt back to the US before going on an investment shopping spree buying and investing in things like Isuzu deal and all while still filing bankruptcy and not paying pre bankruptcy debts including avoiding recalls and not having to deal with lawsuits from people that may have been hurt or killed in a GM vehicle for reasons related to faulty equipment. I realize things do happen with all.brands in regards to recalls and legal matters but all if the rest was deliberate and makes me think to not buy GM products because of it all. It's nothing to do with the car designs or quality. It's to do with ethical matters. So many people and businesses were damaged.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        Plus if you toss Obama, that means you're favoring Romney, who is taking credit for what GM has done now regardless of really having nothing to do with it. I could care less what side of the aisle someone votes, but at least be educated in your view. Otherwise you just sound stupid.
          flychinook
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          I'm sad that it will only let me thumbs-up this comment once.
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        You realize it was Bush who approved the bailout right? Obama just had to see it through, nothing he could have done.
        omgcool
        • 2 Years Ago
        Flawed logic, Meg. The bailouts should have NOTHING to do with what brand people buy today. If it must, though, maybe you should take a look at 70% of the other automakers, who have also had government loans. Which, by the way, are called LOANS for a reason.
        dickbyrne9
        • 2 Years Ago
        Toss him and replace him with a guy from Mexico????
      budwsr25
      • 2 Years Ago
      We all know Pontiac is going to be back within the next few years.
        flychinook
        • 2 Years Ago
        @budwsr25
        Not likely. The rising cost of petroleum has hurt the economic feasibility of plastic body side cladding.
        Camaroman101
        • 2 Years Ago
        @budwsr25
        wish i could believe that
      dickbyrne9
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toss Obama and replace him with a guy from Mexico?
      gregmlr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I purchased a H3 in 2010 and not 6 months later GM started sending me offers in the mail for $1,000 off of a Cadillac Escalade. Gee, thanks GM what a bargain.
      Dump
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good comment everyone, but this article was a bit open-ended. OK, there are millions of people that currently drive a Pontiac, Saturn, or Hummer vehicle. Consider how many of those chose either of the extinct brands only because they knew GM will killing off the brand. Also consider how many more of those vehicle were sold around when the brands were closed. So basically automakers have to wait 4-6 years more until those consumers are ready to replace their current vehicle. The current GM offers for $1000 rebates are basically for people that had those cars before the brands were closed. The real problems are going to arise when the guy who got that "sweet" deal on his Pontiac G8 a couple years ago comes in to Chevy to purchase an SS --- the trade-in value will probably much lower (in comparison to current rates) than expected because its a car from a dead brand. That simple fact will be disappointing to the consumer and could affect his purchasing decisions.
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dump
        If that G8 owner was smart he'd sell privately. The used GXPs are selling for close to sticker still sometimes more depending on options and miles. The GT is selling in the upper 20s. I don't know how much the base G8 is as I'm only interested in a V8 G8. So some models that were cut are holding value well and in some cases appreciating. I wonder how the turbo sky and solstice twins are holding up?
          flychinook
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Matt
          Much like old paintings, those vehicles are worth that much partially because they aren't being made any more. Rarity = exclusivity = more valuable. A handful of automakers are able to turn this into a business model, producing rare cars that command high prices because of their rarity. But they also turn out products a bit nicer than your average Grand Am.
      tylermars.design
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cadillac*
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