GM launches clearance sale on Pontiacs, Saturns


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General Motors is offering a $7,000 sales inducement to its dealers for every Saturn and Pontiac vehicle left in inventory as the automaker phases out the two brands.

Assuming the cash is passed on to consumers, the move could result in savings for buyers looking to snap up one of the few remaining unsold Pontiacs and Saturns. But the savings might not be as much as you would think.


To qualify for the incentive, dealers have to put the vehicles in their rental or service fleet before selling them to consumers. That means they technically will be classified as used vehicles when they are sold to the public, though buyers apparently would get a new car warranty.

GM already is offering $6,500 in incentives on new Pontiacs, including 0% financing for up to 72 months, narrowing the margin of benefit on those vehicles even further, according to online auto info site

“This program is more hype than substance,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst. “There is no benefit for the consumer to purchase a used vehicle when a new vehicle can be had for a similar price.”

That said, hype can go along way in the car business, and GM hopes the program -- and the publicity it generates -- will rid it of the final reminders of two brands headed for the auto graveyard.

“It’s designed to help us clear the deck so we can more quickly move on and focus on our four core brands -- Buick, Chevy, Cadillac and GMC,’ GM spokesman Tom Henderson said.

-- Martin Zimmerman