DETROIT – General Motors Corp. said Thursday it was ending the interest-free loan deals it used to boost auto sales after the Sept. 11 attacks and replacing them with new cash rebates.
The new marketing campaign, thought to be less costly than the zero-percent financing program GM introduced on Sept. 20, will feature an offer to customers of $2,002 toward the purchase of most GM vehicles, the automaker said. The new offer expires Feb. 28.
The zero-percent program, which expired on Wednesday, helped lift U.S. vehicle sales to near-record highs last year despite economic fallout from the air attacks on New York and Washington.
But the program, which was relauctantly matched by Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler side of DaimlerChrysler , pushed the average incentive offered on new vehicles up 71 percent in October from the same month in 2000 -- to a total of nearly $2,300 per vehicle -- and was widely seen as unsustainable.