By on April 4, 2011

Steve writes:

Hi Sajeev,

For those of us who have entered the OnStar “Push On” contest that is giving away 10 GM vehicles of the winner’s choice and who feel lucky (yeah, right), we have a potential problem.  You get a GM vehicle of your choice and $25K to cover taxes, delivery, dealer prep, added dealer markup (in the spirit of the GTO, G8, Camaro…don’t put it past them), etc.

Here are the choices and my first thoughts:

  • Aveo – nope, is anyone that dumb? Even GM wouldn’t let you select this!
  • Cruze – nah.
  • HHR – no, no, no.
  • Malibu – already own one.
  • Impala – meh, no more SS. (that’s because LS4-FTW! – Sajeev)
  • Camaro SS – rented one; like driving an eff’n WWII pillbox, cripe!
  • Camaro SS convertible – maybe, but see above with top up, a bitch in the winter with the top down.
  • Corvette GS – maybe, but still have a teen on the insurance.
  • Corvette Z06 – sweet, but probably rides too hard and see above.
  • Corvette ZR1 – awesome, but I already get too many tickets; now if it came with stealth cloaking and active countermeasures.
  • Volt – not available in the contest.
  • Colorado/Canyon – bleah.
  • Silverado/Sierra – yeah, a 3500 crew cab dually…not!
  • Equinox/Terrain – why?
  • Traverse/Acadia/Enclave – nope, kids are grown.
  • Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade – maybe, but would rather have a car than a truck.
  • Suburban/Yukon XL/Escalade ESV – too big for the garage.
  • Avalanche/Escalade EXT – see Suburban, ugly.
  • Regal turbo – maybe, but would rather have a GS.
  • Regal GS – definite maybe, its a 2012 model so might not be an option.
  • Lacrosse – close but kind of boring for a contest winner selection.
  • Lucerne – not that old yet.
  • CTS – maybe a wagon.
  • CTS-V – probably at the top of the list.
  • STS – would have been near the top of the list, but no more V model, V8 or Magna Ride Suspension for 2011, grrr.
  • DTS – too big, not that old yet.
  • SRX – have the previous model and like it better.

So if you pick the ZR1 it is ~ $120K + $25 = $145K that you have to pay taxes on.  If you are in a 30% bracket (state + federal) that’s a whopping $43.5K in taxes which means you are out $18.5K + delivery + prep + license fees + insurance => say $25K.  Not bad for a ZR1 but not “free”.  So do you pick the ZR1, sell it and get ~ $100K net?

Or pick something else and keep it?  Which of the above list? Camaro SS? Regal GS? CTS-V? Escalade?  CTS-V at ~ $65K + $25K = $90K => $27K in taxes; this might be the optimum for a car to keep; but what color? manual or automatic? coupe, sedan or wagon?  10 lucky folks are going to have this problem.  What would you select?

Sajeev answers:

I know a thing or two about getting a ZR1 for cheap and the market for GM’s flagship in general. Considering there are still leftover 2010s that are being sold for $10+k below sticker by dealerships desperate to lower their “floor plan” (inventory) payments, you might be looking at more a profit of low-90s if you want to make a quick sale from a dealer/auction and be done with it.  The market is super soft, but that OnStar promotion is still the best bang for the buck.

And that’s what I’d do, if you were me and I was you. The money earned can be used for more important things: teenager’s college, house upgrades, investment portfolio, travel and whatever else floats your boat. And that’s because these (depreciating) vehicles aren’t replacing your current rides, including your Malibu/SRX. At least that’s what it sounds like from the (kinda harsh) tone of your letter. And that’s totally cool.

While GM “bashing” from the most loyal supporters (paging Buickman, where are you?) is not a foreign concept here at TTAC, you don’t fit that mold. It’s simply all about the money, honey.

Send your queries to [email protected]. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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34 Comments on “Piston Slap: Push On Steepstakes, Take In Financial Burden?...”

  • avatar

    +1, Sajeev. I may enter, go for the ZR1, and if the extremely unlikely happens, sell. All gravy. Might detail the ’99 Accord with that dough. Or get an S2000, or a Miata, or some such.

    • 0 avatar

      But he’d be far more likely to find a buyer for a near-new/no-mile P2P used car with a Camaro SS than a ZR1.  I’m with you though…look for your best bet to “win” with zero money out of pocket and turn around a quick vehicle sale to get the cash.  Nothing in the list above is worth having (well, I might go for a single-rear-wheel crew cab diesel pickup, but that’s me and obviously not you).

  • avatar

    I’d pick the model I could turn around and sell for the most profit as quickly as possible. 

  • avatar

    In all contests that involve significant $ value, go for the quick sale and pocket the cash – even after taxes are paid, you still have more jingle in your jeans than you walked in with. Win-win and don’t look back.

  • avatar

    CTS-V Wagon.  Nothing to think about.

  • avatar

    I know a thing or two about getting a ZR1 for cheap and the market for GM’s flagship in general.
    Speaking of which, did you ever end up reviewing that thing?

  • avatar

    What?  I can’t select the ’64 GTO?

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Depends on what the window for “spending” winnings is.  Loaded Buick Verano so you can have a very quiet version of the Chevy Cruze with a larger displacement engine that the Cruze has.  Screw reselling it, I’m gonna keep it.  (It might be faster than a Turbo Regal, at least till GM regains it’s senses and releases a GNX version.  Though the Verano won’t be released until the last quarter of 2011.)

    • 0 avatar

      Doggone it, Dan – you always write something that strikes a thought I didn’t think of earlier. Knowing me, and if I needed a car, guess what? Impala! (thank you sir, may I have another?)

  • avatar

    Let me see if I have this correctly – (assuming) you win the “GM car of your choice” PLUS up to $25K to cover those pesky taxes and such, AND YOU’RE COMPLAINING???

    A local radio station is giving away a Corolla LE.  While I would never personally WANT )and certainly not BUY) a Corolla LE, if someone HANDED me one (and this is _without_ cash for taxes) I would say “thank you” and feel like I just won something, even if I then turned around and sold it and used the cash as a downpayment for the car I _actually_ wanted.

    Were you raised by wolves?  Seriously, find something REAL to complain about. And for the record, CTS-V coupe, no questions, thank you very much can I have it in black…

  • avatar

    @Sajeev: “While GM “bashing” from the most loyal supporters (paging Buickman, where are you?) is not a foreign concept here at TTAC,…”
    Most loyal supporters of what, precisely? TTAC or GM? I think if we were honest with ourselves, most everyone would admit to having or has had a gripe with their favorite manufacturer. That’s just human nature.
    As for the contest, if I didn’t already owe Uncle Sam this year: CTS-V wagon. Since I do owe Uncle Sam: HHR 2LT (I really need to get something with more hauilng space…).

  • avatar

    You could pretty much give the same assessment to all car companies lineups right now.  Go to expensive, pay to much taxes.  Who wants the cheap car as a contest winner?  I have kids, so X vehicle doesn’t work for me, or I don’t have kids so it won’t work for me.  Give me an automaker, I can do the same thing throughout their lineup.

  • avatar

    Well…If the question is what you should do, the answer will always be get the ZR1 cause it will net you the most cash that you can then spend any which way you want (for instance, buying a CTS-V)…

    If the question is really what GM product would you ever consider buying:

    Cruze; sure, for its price it’s not that bad of a vehicle and the interior is actually quite acceptable.
    Camaro SS; Not really interested in these mullet mobiles and if I’d have one would rather have a Mustang, but I don’t think the Camaro is bad enough not to consider at all
    Corvette; much the same story as with the Camaro, except the Corvette is a bit better and has no real competition at its pricepoint…At the price of the ZR1 I might want something with a better interior though, even if I have to sacrifice 100-200HP.
    Silverado; I guess it’s an ok competitor to the best in class F150
    Tahoe etc: Could see some situations where this is a nice vehicle to have, however I probably won’t find myself in those situations for the near future.
    Regal; nice vehicle that is just a bit too heavy
    CTS(V); probably the best car GM has to offer today.

    The rest…not so much.

  • avatar

    Commissioner Sajeev,

    I am here my friend whenever you shine the Buick Light skyward. however, we superheros get irritated by interrupting incognito for imptertinent incantations. in other words, to just randomly slam all GM products isn’t very cool.


  • avatar

    Hmm, a depreciating car or depreciating dollars…which do I chose?

  • avatar

    Any Vette convertible. The good news…..we Canucks don’t have to pay tax on winnings..yet. The bad news as a GM retiree I’m not elegible.

    On another note….Our famous coffee shops up here is”Tim Hortons” named after a former NHL player, go figure eh?even

    Anyway they were giving away Toyotas in some contest. I think it may have  been a model assembled here in Ontario.

    A bunch of us figured that if we won it we could sell tickets…..You know something like 10 dollars a swing with a sledge hammer? Drag up to the gravel pits, and burn it, call up the media? Nobody won it. Probably just as well.

    Sajeev..dude, you didn’t think you could put a major GM bashing piece like this in without me making a comment did ya?

  • avatar

    So tell me how moral the tax code is when a prize package actually worth $90K in the real world (how much you’d get if you sold the prize) is taxed at a value of $145K?

    • 0 avatar

      Can you report the difference (145K – 90K = 55K) as a loss?  I’m glad we don’t pay taxes on lottery & contest winnings in Canada.  That really would suck the fun out of winning anything.

  • avatar

    lol, “Piston Slap” – Government Motors topic, something I have had personal experience with on both of my trucks.

    Definitely an appropraite title!

  • avatar

     I guess TTAC could have named this series. “Engine sludge” or “Frame rot” to please the anti Toyota trolls.  “Premature transmission failure” for the Honda haters.

    For the upscale crowd BMW Trolls “electrical gremlins” works for me.

  • avatar

    My buddy bought a 2000 Silverado dirt cheap back in 2004. The seller figured the engine was cooked. It had piston slap then, and it still does, 8 years and a 100,000 klms later.

    • 0 avatar

      If a Chevrolet V8 didn’t have a little piston slap, I’d be worried.

    • 0 avatar

      On the subject but off the thread, what exactly IS piston slap? How do you fix it? It doesn’t sound serious by these last 2 posts.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I hesitate to post a clearly “anti-GM” site but here’s a good explanation
      I’m not trying to troll I’m just trying to explain, and sadly no one has posted an explanation to wikipedia.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Back in the early 90s, a woman who worked in the copy room (i.e. she was making minimum wage = a little), won a Buick Reatta in a drawing. She had the devils own time selling the thing, and then convincing the IRS it was not worth MSRP.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Can I get a restored  47 GMC  1/2 ton  PU?

  • avatar

    I’d pick whatever would net me the most money after I sell it.

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