Published July 10, 2012
DETROIT – Chevrolet is trying to pull more customers into its dealerships this summer by offering a money-back guarantee on new cars and trucks.
The General Motors brand said Tuesday that buyers can get refunds if they return their 2012 or 2013 vehicles for any reason. The guarantee lasts for up to 60 days from the date of purchase, and the offer ends Sept. 4.
Chevy Marketing Chief Chris Perry says research shows that customers like it when companies show confidence in their cars and trucks.
Customers will get the same discounted price as GM offers to employees of parts supply companies, plus any other discounts such as rebates or low-interest financing. If customers aren't satisfied with the vehicle, GM will refund the purchase price.
Returned vehicles can't have more than 4,000 miles on them and they can't be damaged.
It's not the first time an automaker has offered a money-back guarantee. GM made a similar offer in September of 2009 to boost sales as it exited bankruptcy protection. Also, when unemployment was sky-high in 2009, Hyundai Motor Corp. let customers return vehicles within the first year of ownership if they lost their jobs.
Also Tuesday, Chrysler Group LLC announced that it will bring back an offer of no payments for 90 days to help clear 2012 models from its dealer lots. The offer, which runs through August, includes the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat brands financed through Ally Financial. The company made the same offer to boost sales in late May.
Chevrolet could use a sales boost from the money-back guarantee. During the first half of the year, its sales grew 6.3 percent to almost 962,000 cars and trucks. But the brand is growing at less than half the rate of overall U.S. auto sales. The total U.S. auto market grew almost 15 percent from January through June.
Chevy is by far GM's most important brand. In the U.S., it accounts for more than 73 percent of the company's sales, according to Autodata Corp.
GM sales overall grew only 4.3 percent in the U.S. during the first half, pulled down by sagging sales of the Cadillac and Buick brands.
Globally, Chevy sold a record 4.76 million cars and trucks last year, and the brand had its best first quarter ever with 1.18 million sales worldwide. GM will release first-half global sales figures on Aug. 2.
Chevy also is offering no-haggle prices to clear out its 2012 models. Chevy is trying to clear out older versions of its two top-selling products, the Malibu midsize car and the Silverado pickup truck. New Malibu models are hitting showrooms en masse later this month, and new Silverados arrive next spring.
Shares of General Motors Co. fell 21 cents, or 1 percent, to $20.01 in midday trading Tuesday. They have lost more than one-third of their value since GM returned to the stock market with an initial public offering in November of 2010.