If Retailers Can Do It, Why Not the Automakers?

Posted by truecreek on April 7, 2009 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | 3 Comments to Read

By Joseph Young

I just don’t get it. Today, I read ANOTHER full page ad in The Washington Post from GM, touting their new TOTAL CONFIDENCE PLAN, complete with a deal for OnStar, an upgraded powertrain warranty, vehicle value protection (whatever that means) and the newest and most popular trick in the book, a payment protection plan should the buyer lose their job.

gm-logoNice stuff, but for me, I just like it simple.  So, I have an idea.  Lower your prices.  Have a sale.  25% off all Pontiacs.  30% off all GMC trucks.  Buy one, get one free.  But you have to close the deal by the end of the month.

It’s that simple.

Sure, there are the folks that bought cars in the past few months that wouldn’t be very happy.  Well, extend their warranty, or something like that.  It’s so easy to think about why it wouldn’t work, but we all know it would.  Long term, it might be an issue, but right now the writing is on the wall for these guys and they have to make a bold move.

It’s time for the Automaker Inventory Reduction Sale.  Now through the end of the month.

Think about it.  Today, there are a gazillion cars just sitting on docks all over the place.  Things are so bad they are even storing them in airport parking lots, for Christ’s sake.  Why not take all of that inventory and put the stuff ON SALE? Talk about getting cash flow moving again.

Dealers would be happy, because this would be a manufacturer driven sale.  Customers would be happy because you would be speaking in a language they fully understand and can appreciate.  And I would hesitate to think that the poor car salespeople just wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.  It hasn’t exactly been nirvana for them lately.

Everyone loves a deal, but a deal that is clean and simple is to die for.  All of these ‘creative’ new bullet points, complete with all of their disclaimer copy just confuse the issue at hand.

Can you imagine walking into a dealership today knowing that you were about to get a car for 30% under MSRP?  Shoot, let’s go for 40%.  They would just fly out the door.

If the retail establishment can do it, why not the automakers?  From a competitive standpoint, it would just smoke the foreign competition.   It would take virtually every sale off the table.   It would be a Made in the USA home run for GM and Chrysler.  But they better hurry.  Time’s a wastin’.