General Motors Co. 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 one 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 would 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 zero percent financing for up to 72 months. So that narrows the margin of benefit on those vehicles even further, according to online auto information site Edmunds.com.
“This program is more hype than substance,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com 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 a long 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.