GM Backtracks on US 'Fire Sale' Promos, Goes Electric in Europe

20 August 2008

DETROIT: General Motors – still reeling from a reported Q2 net loss of $15.5 billion (€10.52bn; £8.3bn) – has reverted to dangling decimated price deals beneath the noses of reluctant US new-car buyers.

Instead, on Monday it announced a major new dealer promotion starting today (Wednesday) with a range of incentives, including employee-level discounts, on almost all the Chevrolet cars and trucks in its showrooms.

GM spokesman John McDonald confirmed the automaker is to offer members of the public the same-level discounts enjoyed by employees on all 2008 model Chevrolets. 

Other temptations include cash-back offers on slower-selling models such as the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, reports a dealer briefed by GM.

The auto giant has similarly briefed dealers selling its entire US brand range – among them Cadillac, Saab, Buick, GMC and Saturn – although it is not clear if they have been authorized to offer similar deals.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures, and that's what we're seeing from GM," says automotive analyst Jesse Toprak at He also notes that GM incentives for July averaged $4,214 per vehicle, more than Ford and Chrysler and 350% above Toyota's discounts.

Dealers, however, are enthused by GM's action. Said one: "It's not a new theme, but, on the other hand, the track record of GM's incentive programs has been very good."

  • GM to Rebadge Volt for European Market  
    In a separate move GM is to rebadge its Chevrolet Volt electric car (pictured above) as an Opel for the European market, underscoring its plans to expand the model range of its highly anticipated new vehicle.

    Aware of concerns about the limited range of electric vehicles, GM promises that the Volt's lithium-ion battery will have a range of at least 40 miles with a minimum life of ten years. 

    The automaker is also considering the production of an electrically-powered mid-sized sedan.

  • Data sourced from USA Today and Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff