Under Water? Opel Will Give You A Car For Free

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

If you are under water with your car, will any friendly GM dealer bail you out? Of course. If you live in what was formerly called “East Germany.”

That part of Germany often has to contend with flooding, and this year, it is a bad one. Wide parts are still under water. Some are recovering, but you know what a car is when it had been standing in water for a few days: A write-off.

Now Opel has a great idea: If you have lost your car, any car, due to flooding, simply go to the next Opel dealer, and you can borrow a car there, for up to three weeks, and most unbelievably, for free, writes Automobilwoche [sub]. A simple note from one of the emergency services will suffice as proof. Off you go

Of course, the offer is not being made out of the goodness of the hearts of Opel: People who just lost a car need a new one. Three weeks in a car breeds familiarity. You want to show your appreciation for the good Samaritan. You buy an Opel. The disconcerting part: Opel apparently has so many cars standing around unsold that they can loan them out. They will immediately turn into “used” cars and lose a lot of their value. But anything for a good cause.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Silvy_nonsense Silvy_nonsense on Aug 11, 2010

    Your article suggests that Opel has too many unsold cars sitting on dealer lots but you've made no effort to support that with any data. I'm willing to assume that you are correct and Opel does have too many unsold cars sitting around. The lost value you refer to can be quantified and booked as promotion and marketing expenses. Advertising costs money and I don't see the problem with Opel spending that money on billboards, magazine ads, TV ads or on a novel demonstrator program that also helps out disaster victims. This program may or may not result in more car sales, but either way Opel is getting "free" press and building good will, so there is a payoff for whatever value the cars lose.

    • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Aug 11, 2010

      Well, good will among people other than TTAC writers. It'll be a cold day in hell before this publication acknowledges a good decision! Yes, sir! *winning smile*