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

October 14, 2009
Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz

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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