Just think for a second about the year GM had. Holy smokes… who would’ve thought by the end of 2009 the General would have filed for bankruptcy and killed Pontiac, Saturn, and probably Saab?
As ’09 is about to give way to ’10, GM really wants to move on and put this year into the past. Problem is, there are still Pontiacs and Saturns hanging around on dealers’ lots, threatening to hang on to the General’s heels, making it even more difficult to take those first steps into the future. Now GM has a plan to shake off those pesky remaining liabilities known as Pontiac and Saturn: a good old-fashioned fire sale. With a twist.
Earlier this month, GM sent letters to its dealers offering a $7,000 incentive on each Pontiac and Saturn they move. CNN says:
Under the plan, dealers technically become the first owner of the cars in order to get the incentive. They can then pass on the incentives by selling the “used” vehicles to customers at a deep discount. The deal expires Jan. 4.
The factory-to-dealer incentive plan is an unusual move. If GM had taken the common approach of placing the $7,000 as a customer incentive, the company would have had to wait for buyers to come into the showroom and take the deal.
Sounds pretty good, but only for GM. The company gets to clear inventory all at once, while the dealer becomes the registered owner (think service loaners and rentals). The problem is, you and I will never see that $7,000 discount. Pontiac and Saturn vehicles are already deeply discounted, and a dealer selling them “used” isn’t going to go much lower. Here’s how the Edmunds AutoObserver explained it:
Meantime, right now, a buyer of a 2009 Pontiac G6 GT with a V6 engine that lists at $25,430 could be had for about $17,436, according to Edmunds.com’s analysis. A used one under the move-to-fleet program wouldn’t be discounted all that much more.
“There is no benefit for the consumer to purchase a used vehicle when a new vehicle can be had for a similar price,” noted Edmunds.com’s [Senior Analyst Jessica] Caldwell.
At the end of the day, there are really only three cars consumers should consider from Pontiac and Saturn: The magnificent Pontiac G8 and the sultry Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky twins. Those are great cars that could have potential collector value in the future. Other than those three, leave the fire sale “deals” to the dealers.
Would you consider picking up any new (or “used”) Pontiac or Saturn at a rock-bottom price? Sign me up for a G8 GXP!