GM Marketing Maven Maximum Bob Lutz: One Car Returned Under 60-Day Guarantee

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

OK, so, was GM’s 60-day guarantee program a success or another California eBay-style unacknowledged flop? Here are the facts, according to failed Car Czar and current Marketing Maven Maximum Bob Lutz [via Automotive News, sub]: “GM has sold about 150,000 vehicles since the program began. Of that, just over 100 customers have opted to take a 60-day money-back guarantee, Lutz said. The rest turned down that option and instead took a $500 cash incentive. ‘Out of hundreds of thousands, the people who’ve selected the 60-day guarantee were in the hundreds,’ GM’s marketing chief said during a media event here today. ‘We have had one substantiated return of a vehicle.’” So less than one percent opted for the money-back guarantee. Flop. BUT only one percent of the one percent went on to return a vehicle. (A buyer who regretted opting for an autobox ‘Vette instead of the stick, apparently.) Success! So . . . a successful flop?

Who cares? Not Lutz. The nationalized automaker’s main marketing man is already re-re-focusing his attention on the last next big thing. Here’s the man of maximum himself, reaffirming GM’s unique, unswerving and unshakable combination of ADD and self-delusion.

“The new advertising campaign, “May the Best Car Win,” is intended to compare GM vehicles against the best of the competition to show that the automaker’s products are better in all areas and value-priced, he said.

“We now can comfortably encourage the public to come take a close look at our products,” Lutz said. “It’s to shock Americans into the reality of GM’s products.”

Yeah, well, the real shock will come when taxpayers wake-up to the fact that GM is dead. Again. Still.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • DangerousDave DangerousDave on Oct 15, 2009

    What a deal, basically GM was selling an insurance policy for $500 to cover the risk of return for 60 days. Then there is the disincentive to return the car by not including in the refund titling, registration fees, dealer fees & cost of dealer installed accessories ($900 protection package). This thing was a scam from the get go.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Oct 16, 2009

    say it ain't so, Ronnie!

  • Dartdude Having the queen of nothing as the head of Dodge is a recipe for disaster. She hasn't done anything with Chrysler for 4 years, May as well fold up Chrysler and Dodge.
  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.