GM Ponders Value of Loyalty

Among the many challenges facing the embattled auto maker General Motors, there’s a major one that’s often overlooked by those analyzing the U.S. car market. But, there’s an easy way to bring up the elephant in the room, just by naming a few of the vehicle brands now popular on U.S. roads: Saturn, Pontiac, and Hummer.

As GM shuttered plants and cut production, popular car brands Saturn and Pontiac got the axe, and the sad fact is that there will be no more of these vehicles rolling off of the lines. What that means for long-term loyalists is that they will ultimately have to make a switch when considering new car sales in 2011. What they will switch to…well, that’s the issue at hand.

In order to keep families in GM rides, the company has reached out with a variety of incentives like “consumer cash” and loyalty rebates for new car sales in 2011 that may still be available in some locales. A May 6 Wall Street Journal story shows some of the reasoning behind GM’s giveaways to customers, started earlier this year after looking at whether Saturn and Pontiac drivers are sticking with GM, or making a bigger shift in their purchases toward other domestic or even international manufacturers.

For those stuck with a defunct Saturn or Pontiac, General Motors may be willing to make a deal on a new or quality pre-owned sale of other GM marques. It’s worth looking into how available incentives can bring down your total when you’re financing with General Motors, so if you’re headed to the lot, take your trade-in with you and make sure to talk to reps about how GM and their participating dealers can reward customers willing to go the distance as the old-school U.S. company retools, pulls out of the threat of bankruptcy, and begins to pull itself up by its bootstraps in a very competitive market.