Groupon Groupies: $199 Gets $500 Off A GM Vehicle (In One Michigan Town)

July 14, 2011

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Every family head worth his or her coupon clippings knows that Groupon is often a bargain. You just need to need the item. And a new GM vehicle might just be the right item.

At least, that’s what one GM dealer in Highland Township, Michigan believes. As reported in Automotive News, LaFontaine Buick GMC Cadillac is now the first automotive dealership to offer a discount on a brand-new car using Groupon.

The Chicago-based Groupon, already an established player in offering vouchers for restaurants and hotels, is testing the waters here.

As for the GM dealership, Robert Milner, LaFontaine’s general sales manager, although initially reluctant to give Groupon a go, figures that he spends about the same amount, $350 to $400, on other kinds of advertising, so why not?

Here’s how the Groupon deal works at LaFontaine Buick GMC Cadillac. The consumer pays Groupon $199 for a voucher worth $500 toward the purchase of a new car or light truck at LaFontaine. The voucher must be redeemed this year. The dealership and Groupon split the money from the consumer.

LaFontaine gives up $300 to the consumer and $100 to Groupon, so it winds up spending $400 per consumer redeeming the Groupon $500 voucher.

Since it’s a short-term test, running just July 12-13, Milner decided to cap the number of available vouchers at 150. If it goes well, Milner may pitch the idea to the other dealerships in the 14-franchise LaFontaine Automotive Group.

A quick review of the Groupon site for offers in Detroit, Michigan shows that three vouchers have already been purchased by consumers. The offer is not valid for GM employees, can be redeemed beginning July 14, and applies to the purchase or lease of a new Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle (including cars, SUVs and trucks) and certified pre-owned vehicles and only one voucher per customer is allowed.

LaFontaine’s “Family Deal” is touted in the copy. The family-owned company strives to go beyond just giving customers the best price possible and does everything it can to make them feel like part of the family.

Will car vouchers be a hit with Groupon groupies? Time will tell.

[Automotive News [sub. required] via Advertising Age]

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