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Lutz: Just One Car Returned Under 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee

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In September, GM launched a program putting its cars up against the industry's best, offering a 60-day money-back guarantee on all 2009 and 2010 model-year Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC vehicles. So far, it looks to be going well for GM, with just one customer taking the car in for a refund--and even then, he ended up with another GM vehicle.

It's still underway, so things may yet heat up, but Bob Lutz went on the record today saying that to date, just one customer has come for their money. The reason? He bought a manual-transmission Chevrolet Corvette, and ended up wanting an automatic.

The point of the deal was to show GM had enough faith in its products to make the offer, and the company said at the time that it didn't anticipate many returns. Seeing just one return after about a month in operation reflects the reality of the marketplace--an alternative offer of $500 cash back could be opted for in place of the money-back guarantee.

Out of hundreds of thousands of cars sold during the period, Lutz says only a few hundred took the money-back guarantee over the cash, and so far there's been just the one "substantiated" return.

Whether the new money-back guarantee and "May the Best Car Win" campaign deserve the credit or it's simply a sign of GM's ongoing recovery from this summer's bankruptcy, the average transaction price for GM cars was up about $8,000 in September, almost $5,000 more than the industry average improvement, though it still has a hole to pull itself out of, down 8.4% in market share from last September's 29.3%.

The money-back guarantee allows GM customers to bring a new car to the dealership between 31 and 60 days after purchase for a refund of the purchase price. The program runs through November 30.

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Comments (11)
  1. Wow the ROI on this campaign has got to be great! I would have thought lots of people would at least try cars and then return them just because they could.
     
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  2. Those who buy it... Will return it.
    I don't get people that take this promo and really return the car... Unless they took it to some off road trip and 'kill' it. But if you
    ask me - lame.
     
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  3. As I recall, there were a number of conditions on the return policy. But if Lutz is touting this as proof of how great GM's cars are, it read to me as much like a failed marketing tactic. The increase in transaction price, OTOH ... that's good news for us GM owner-taxpayers.
     
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  4. So the Pontiacs and Saturns that are left don't get the guarantee?
     
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  5. Not really surprised. YOu'd have to pay thousands of dollars in tax, title and other transaction fees even if you got the purchase price back. Not really a deal at all if you ask me.
     
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  6. The non-returns must be due to the great deal received in terms of price, or low or zero percent financing. If any of them drove a Toyota, Honda, or VW after the GM without the incentives, a bunch of those GM's would have been returned.
     
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  7. Of all the GM cars to return, it was a Vette?
     
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  8. This is awesome and proves GM has great products. A gutsy move.
     
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  9. Keep the Receipt, he returned the manual Corvette but then bought an automatic one so even this wasn't really a return.
     
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  10. @Buffet: Yes, there were quite a lot of strings attached to the offer. Notably, the return couldn't happen in the first 30 days of ownership, and the offer was void if the vehicle had sustained over $200 in damages (as assessed by a dealer). We ran a piece on all that here: http://blogs.thecarconnection.com/marty-blog/1035629_video-a-look-at-general-motors-satisfaction-guarantee
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    That said, I'm not really surprised that GM has only had one return. If I recall correctly, Hyundai's vaguely similar Assurance Program didn't have many returns either. My guess? Car buyers have actually done their homework, figured out what they wanted, and bought it. As usual, we've underestimated shoppers' ability to make informed decisions.
     
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  11. I think this program is extremely smart as there is - whether we want to admit it or not - a major brand/trust issue with GM and Chrysler. It seems that by all objective standards they measure up very well to other players/competitors. However, there is a need to re-introduce themselves and these positive trends to a skeptical car-buying audience. Good work GM
     
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