In Latest Attempt To Boost Sagging Sales, GM Once Again Offering Interest-Free Financing On Numerous Models

Tyler Durden's picture

The "subprime" vehicle maker is back to its old bag of tricks - of the variety that ultimately resulting in its bankruptcy. After Zero Hedge had been pointing out for months that GM's sales number are in small part a function of its "inventory stuffing" gimmick, which has seen the number of cars held by dealers explode over the past 12 months as seen in the linked chart, leading us to speculate that GM is essentially recreating the AOL "channel stuffing" strategy that worked out oh so well, we now get confirmation that things are in fact far worse than even we had expected. Bloomberg reports that "General Motors Co. is offering buyers interest-free financing on some 2011 models after the company increased discounts and incentives to lead all major automakers’ U.S. sales gains last month." As of yesterday desperate car buyers who can't rub two dimes together, can drive to the local unemployment office in the luxury of their brand new Chevy Imapala, or alternatively pick a just as worthless Chevy Malibu, HHR WAgon, Traverse SUV, as well as a Silverado, Colorado and Avalanche pickups, which are now offered at either 72 or 60 months of interest-free loans. "The 60-month deal also applies to the Buick
Enclave and GMC Acadia SUVs and Sierra pickups." That pretty much covers the entire line up. And that's not all: "GM raised discounts 12 percent from a year earlier to an
estimated $3,732 per vehicle last month, the most among major
automakers and 45 percent more than the average, according to
researcher Autodata Corp." As Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive officer of Santa Monica, California-based summarized it all too well: "GM’s rhetoric has been saying one thing -- discipline,
discipline, discipline -- and then their actions have been going
completely in another direction
." And as the stock, which is now firmly below the IPO prices indicates, the direction is a given: down. It is time for another poll (now that the one about the IPO price floor has been resolved): how long before GM files Chapter 22?

More on what is increasingly an act of desperation by the world's worst automaker, which not even Phil Lebeay, whose alleged IPO stock overallotment is now underwater, can spin his way out of.

GM doesn’t comment on specific incentive programs, Tom Henderson, a spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. GM still has the highest average transaction prices among mainstream automakers according to J.D. Power & Associates and GM data, he said, without giving specifics.

Reduced-rate financing also is being offered on other models, such as 2.9 percent, 60-month loans on the Chevy Cruze compact and 3.9 percent, 60-month loans on the Cadillac SRX, according to AIS.

And the truly sad thing is that GM's desperation-time strategies borne out of Obama's bizarro corporatofascist capitalism, are about to drag that far more viable carmaker, Ford, into the ground:

The automaker’s discounts may force rival Ford Motor Co. to increase its sales incentives, Anwyl said. GM’s U.S. sales in February climbed 46 percent, giving it a 20.8 percent share of the market last month, topping Ford’s 15.7 percent and Toyota Motor Corp.’s 14.3 percent, according to in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Autodata.

Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has emphasized profitability over market share, with Ford boosting prices in February by $700 to $800 a vehicle from January, George Pipas, the automaker’s sales analyst, told reporters on Feb. 28.

“Up until three months ago, Ford was the one everybody was talking about,” Anwyl said. “The question is, ‘How long are they going to want to be the disciplined car company and allow GM to pick up their share?’”

Ford reduced average incentive spending 9.7 percent to $2,542 last month. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company’s 10 percent increase in February sales trailed GM and Toyota, which had a 42 percent gain after it raised spending 11 percent to $2,003. Chrysler Group LLC’s average discounts fell 14 percent to $3,052, while sales climbed 13 percent.

As for that Italian carmaker, Chrysler, which now uses a questionably non-selloutable Eminem as its model, forgetaboutit.

“I wonder if you’d see such a strong market, month after month” without the incentives from GM and Toyota, Lieb said in an interview yesterday. “Things are still extremely unpredictable. Look at fuel prices and the uncertainty and unrest in the Middle East.”

GM's latest gimmick is nothing new:

The reluctance on the part of the entire industry to raise incentives has probably constrained the market prior to last month, Edmunds’ Anwyl said. Incentives helped propel the U.S. to its all-time fastest auto sales pace in 2001 when GM introduced its no-interest campaign dubbed “Keep America Rolling,” after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“If GM plans to make good on its promise to keep incentives in line with the industry average over the course of the year, it will have to post below-average incentives at some point,” Chris Ceraso, a New York-based analyst with Credit Suisse Group AG, wrote in a research report today. “This may get difficult, as its key competitors are showing a willingness to increase incentive levels in order to stay competitive.”

And so another attempt at recreating capitalism on the shoulders of predatory socialism fails.


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LawsofPhysics's picture

Fucking awesome.  Time for a fire sale, please?

cougar_w's picture

Skip the sale part. Go straight to the fire.

Rusty Shorts's picture

Glad you around again cougar.


Wait, what's this?


US Auto Sales Surge 27 Percent in February

OldPhart's picture

"how long before GM files Chapter 22?"

Ummm, I thought government entities had to file Chapter 9.

johnQpublic's picture

'how long?'


not for days...


not four days

EscapeKey's picture

Someone is trying to keep the price up, so he can cash out his stock options in time.

mynhair's picture

That someone better hurry.

Just Observing's picture

Been car shopping this week.  Tried to look at a Chevy Envoy, but the sales person acted like he didn't give a crap about showing us one.  We bought a Subaru Outback.

mynhair's picture

F did that to us 6 months ago.  Went with an Accent.

Logans_Run's picture

You can thank the sales person for directing you toward the Subi. You will be much happier in the long run.

ghostfaceinvestah's picture

agreed, those are very nice cars for the money

DrSandman's picture

Sure -- as long as you don't have to buy premium gas for the 20mpg gas hog.  Oh wait...

MarketTruth's picture

Agree, Subie is FAR BETTER built and more durable vehicle than a Government Motors car.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Agreed. Have a 2000 Forester with 240K miles on original clutch and rear brakes. Never have to chain up for snow. Dirt, ice, pavement, gravel it's all the same. Once you drive AWD you won't go back.

Dislodged a Jeep from a snow drift in the La Sal Mountains one time. Next to my mountain bikes and rafts, it's the best investment I ever made.

The Mighty Roo!

Lothar the Rottweiler's picture

2002 Impreza Outback Sport.  148K.  No major issues aside from wear/tear.  If the engine isn't underwater, and you have good tires, you're getting through it.

Go Subaru and don't look back!

Big Corked Boots's picture

Get me a six liter V8 pickup truck in time for $5.00 gasoline.

Outstanding. Saudis need welfare, too... Glad to help.

oogs66's picture

I love chapter 22 :) and since they are owned by the government why shouldn't they say one thing and do another? And don't give any crap about being owned by the people - where was my invite Yo the Detroit auto show?

johngaltfla's picture

Uh, last I check, Duct tape is NOT adequate for fixing a torpedo hole in the hull of an aircraft carrier. Or is it 2008 again and I've just been drunk for 2 years?

Misean's picture

American-Leyland needs to follow the footsteps of its British cousin and build smaller, crappier cars like this:


gmj's picture

Google gives me a malware warning on that site.

Misean's picture

That's not terribly surprising. The Morris Marina was a truly awful vehicle.

Zero Govt's picture

yes but imagine flogging the Marina with 0% down payment and 0% interest and a contract that says we don't give a fuk who you are....

...I like the way the US car market is going, much like US healthcare and US housing before it... the Govt doesn't just give you dumb, it doubles up on dumb and then triples it... splendid !!!

deselby's picture

Subprime?  Buicks and Cadillacs are fine cars, as reliable as anything else if maintained.


Logans_Run's picture

But they don't sell enough of either of them to make a viable business.

impending doom's picture

Ha! Spoken like a person who has never owned a well-maintained cadillac.

gorillaonyourback's picture

my 62 coupe de ville still runs fine.  she needs a little lovin all the time but she puts out

TemporalFlashback's picture

Subprime is referencing subprime auto loans - not the car. Although, after thinking about it, yes, sub-prime cars as well.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Maintained? They may drive like crap, but I am pretty sure those front driver Buick V-6's up to the early 90's can be lubricated and cooled using only air.

cossack55's picture

I was leaning toward a pickup to hold all the groceries from my SNAP card, but, with the rise in food prices I think I'll opt for a Smart Car instead.

cougar_w's picture

It's interest-free cuz ... there ain't no interest in it at all.

I think I could be an eee-con-oh-mist. I rilly do.

jkruffin's picture

I made mention last week that a friend of mine just had a Cpt 7 bankruptcy discharged and 3 days latter his mailbox was full of financing arrangements for a new GM from companies spanning from DC to Florida.  So I guess if your name is Government Motors, and you need to find buyers for your product you get your sales lists from the bankruptcy courts to peddle.  What's more is the guaranteed loan offer. Sound familiar Benny? Timmy? Bammy?

The FED has mortgaged our future......this is the next housing bubble waiting to collapse. And it will.

b_thunder's picture

Ford - gimme a break!  Thay've had a good run, mainly b/c of the troubles the others were having and the resulting "positive" press. 

But lately they've had recalls every week now, just like  in the early- and mid-2000s.  Ford again stands for "fix and repair daily." 


Village Idiot's picture

"Ford...the heartbreak of today's Chevrolet."


Don Birnam's picture

"Fix Or Repair Daily"

"Ford Owners Repair Daily"

And my personal favorite, one which I have found myself on the wrong side of,
"Found On Road Dead"

Ford. Quality is Job 1.

OldPhart's picture

My '48 F-3 still runs, don't know the mileage since the speedometer cable broke in the 60's and it never went fast enough to matter.

Hooter Shaker's picture

There is no such thing as interest free financing on a new car.  You forfeit the rebate which is equilvalent to rolling the interest into the principal.  It's smoke and mirrors.  Nothing to see here...

cougar_w's picture

There is no such thing as interest free financing on a new car

What do you mean, no such thing? I've no interest in financial one of their cars and never will have any.

Id fight Gandhi's picture

Best sellers are still the light trucks getting sub 20mpg.

So they'll have to take steep loses as gas soars just like 2008. Oh and if you own a gas guzzler forget resale values, they're plunging.

MachoMan's picture

I might buy an equinox if they'll knock off more of a discount...  I would much rather buy japanese, but if they'll discount enough I'll buy american...  Hell, some of the jeep models you can get for ~$15k new already...  drive it for 5-7 years and throw it away...

jkruffin's picture

Don't you love the fuzzy math these car dealers use?  Their sales increased @ 50% in one month,  WOW.  They sold 6 vehicles to Bernanke instead of 4.  All in one month. That's amazing.

Look around your military bases and government buildings folks, see the brand new GM cars all the military officers and DoD employees are driving on your tax dollar. The main buyer has been the government for 2 straight years and counting.

poggi's picture

Why not?  Especially when the Fed is backing your play with its printing presses?

mynhair's picture


The new Connecticutt school will not be named after Byteme Biden.....

max2205's picture

The definition of insanity is......

GM is going to blow up again

Think of the numbers they would report if only mark to fantasy was in their grasp

Billy Shears's picture

This is how it works: gov't bails out any, and I mean any business or anyone, and all Americans should boycott that particular person or entity, no exceptions. Sure, over the years, we as taxpayers have put 10 of billions into this black-hole and we'll never get it back. So what, we owe trillions anyway; a mere sack of shells. But, and this is the hook, we have the satisfaction of knowing now that companies are on notice: take a bailout and don't expect to sell any of your stuff to the taxpaying public, at least not to me. Both collectively and individually this is a powerful message to send to the market: bailout=pariah=market failure.