GM’s Solution to Recall: Just Buy a New Car

2014 Buick Regal

Sorry for the trouble. Buy one of these as compensation!

Let’s say you bought a car only to find out later it has a defect that could potentially kill you.

Would your first response be heading to your nearest dealer and buying a new version of the same brand to replace your defective car?

Of course not. That’s a silly question, right? Most people would simply want the car fixed, if possible. Others might have a more extreme response and sue the carmaker in question and vow to never own said brand again.

General Motors is still in the middle of its ignition recall and has made those affected by it a very strange offer.

Aside from the fact that it took over a decade to get the recall going on its faulty ignition switch, GM has handled the process in a strange manner. Repairs on the nearly 3 million affected vehicles are under way, but owners of those vehicles were quietly made a couple of questionable offers.

Back in March, GM informed owners of recalled vehicles that they would receive $500 off the purchase or lease of any new 2013, 2014 or 2015 Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet or GMC vehicle, which was in addition to the affected car’s trade-in value.

That program ran through April, but there are no numbers to report how many buyers took advantage. I would assume not very many, because now there’s news of another secret promotion:

In lieu of the $500 offer, GM is now making employee pricing available to owners of recalled cars. There’s no indication of exactly how much that saves, but we do know it’s generally under invoice cost and can be combined with publicly advertised cash-back specials.

That could surely result in a good deal on a new car, but how ethical is this?

I appreciate the effort to make things right, but it almost seems like GM is also saying, “Yes, we realize our negligence could have caused your death, but we still need to make more money, and since you’re still alive, we’d like to sell you a new car. Congratulations!”

I don’t think asking someone to spend $25,000 or more should be considered compensation for a potentially fatal mistake. It actually seems a bit crass.

It makes a lot more sense for other automakers to make this offer and take advantage of an opportunity to change a GM customer’s brand loyalty. I don’t know of any such promotions, probably because other companies have too much class.

Would you accept a discount on a new car in place of having a recalled one fixed?


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1 Comment

  1. Would your first response be heading to your nearest dealer and buying a new Tacoma? About five years ago, while Toyota was fighting other recalls, they had a quiet recall to Tacoma owners issues with frame rot to its suspensions and body components. Toyota offered book value to buy back the truck plus $500 if you bought a Toyota. You could also have the frame replaced with a loaner. Today you can still drive by many Toyota stores and find both new replacement frames as well as the rusted ones stacked out near service. Many dealers stock piled the traded Tacomas for mass shipping to, I do not know that part, junked, studied?

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