By on June 3, 2012

General Motors’ decision to reanimate the corpse of the Saturn Vue for rental fleets was not entirely scorned by the always-practical B&B, so your humble author has been keeping an eye out for any news regarding the Captiva “Sport”. Now, thanks to automotive industry consultant and wrongly accused Lexus-smasher Seung “Mel” Min Yu, I have some news about the pricing for GM’s insider auction of low-mileage Captivas, as well as some information regarding the imminent arrival of Captivas at your local dealer.

A week or so ago, GM ran a batch of fifty “program car” Captivas through their dealer-only Mannheim Auction. Most had between five and ten thousand miles on the clock. According to Mel, the pricing ran like so:

  • 4 cyl went for 17.5K~20K
  • 6cyl 1LT went for 19.5~21K
  • 6cyl 2LT went for 24~26K
  • 6cyl LTZ went for 28.5~30K

That doesn’t represent the dealer’s final cost; they’ll also pay an auction fee that could go as high as $325. If they want these Captivas to carry the worthless hallowed “GM Certified” banner, they’ll also need to pay $898 plus 1.6 hours of a GM tech’s labor. Amazing that these cars can be “certified” in just 1.6 hours, isn’t it? It’s pretty customary for a used car at a dealer to carry a minimum of three grand in markup, so that makes street pricing for Captivas somewhere between $22,000 for a stripped four-cylinder bought “right” and a staggering $34,000-plus for LTZ V-6 models purchased at the high range of the auction.

Compare that frankly outrageous pricing with the MSRP for a new Equinox, and it’s hard to understand how the Captivas sold at all. Is Equinox availability that constrained? Are dealers that desperate?

Mel says that the rental car companies will start releasing Captivas with thirty to forty thousand miles of careful rental usage some time in the summer. Surely those vehicles will fetch much, much less. In the meantime, buyers who want to capture a Captiva will need to bring a very thick wallet.

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50 Comments on “Release The Captivas!...”


  • avatar
    RideTheCliche

    Every time I see that name I can’t help but to read it as “Craptiva”
    Likely caused by the anguish of setting up combo Mwave sound-card/modems for the IBM Aptiva about 15 years back.

    I guess this was the next logical step after raiding the Saturn Outlook parts bin for the rear of the 2012 GMC Acadia…

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      It’s a small ritzy island off of Florida’s gulf coast. It likely ranks right up there with the Malibu as the car least likely to be owned by someone who can actually afford to live in the city it was named after.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        GM has a long history of names like that. I don’t believe a single celebrity has ever owned a Celebrity, unless maybe you count YouTube personalities and famous criminals.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I keep seeing Captive/a…

      Considering how taking out an imprudent loan can get you, I don’t see how naming a car “Captive” can help its sales.

      Still, I was wondering what Chevy had that competes head on with the Ford Escape. They seem to have bigger vehicles, but I’ve been wondering what they have that competes with it directly, since the Vue and the Vibe have been discontinued.

    • 0 avatar
      notsure_whattoregister

      I drove one about 2 weeks ago as a rental. The car is absolutely awful. I am surprised anyone would buy one of these cards regardless of their nameplate. Soulless, numb… weak… horrible car

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    The only word to descibe these prices is

    wait for it………

    Nuts!

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    That’s got to be than a RAV4 or a CR-V?

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    V6? The 3.6ltr or something else?

  • avatar

    but they do have a Captiva audience, so let the market decide if the price is warranted…

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    The 2007 Saturn vue that I owned tells me that they finally made pretty good cars. The 2002 left me with memories that make that not matter.

    I would rather have a daily appointment for a root canal.

  • avatar
    BobAsh

    I haven’t driven a Captiva yet, but I’ve spent a week in it’s upscale brother, the Opel Antara. It was BY FAR the worst thing I have driven in 2011 (out of 50 or so cars)… Captiva is probably even worse… eek…

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the problem with these is that they come from the bad old days of Daewoo pre GFC so that’s 2007? and when they were introduced they were dynamically behind the competition BACK THEN… problem is the Japanese and Koreans have moved on and they stand no chance now.

    where I am they sell quite well becuase they are cheap and have auto trans for free and they look quite nice (IMO) but its almost another decade given the driving experience

    its the McDonalds syndrome… famous brand, mediocre product, ignorant customer = millions served

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I always liked the look of these, very attractive. Just when Saturn was offering nice cars, they shut it down. GM should just import the Opel and call it done.

    Offering these for that inflated price as program vehicles? I don’t get it, as they are well-used or seem to be. As a rental, who cars? I guess.

    GM, like Buickman has been saying all along, worries me, as some things they do just don’t make any sense to me. But what do I know?

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      You do understand that the prices listed in this post were prices paid by independently owned dealers right? It was an auction. Nobody had a gun to their head when they made their final bids I assume or else the eyewitness would have probably reported that too.

      The miles were 5,000-10,000 per the post.

      How in the hell does this ‘worry’ you about GM?

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      With the capacity problems in Europe, importing Opels is probably in the cards. I just wish everything wasn’t a rebadged Opel or Daewoo. World cars are the future but it would be nice if a few non-truck based models were designed and engineered in North America.

  • avatar
    alluster

    That’s too much for a used suv. I think its time to sell Captivas in retail since GM cant seem to be able to make enough of Noxs and Terrains, the combined sales of which last year were 4th after the FSeries, Silverado and Camry. The feminine styling will appeal to Rav4 and CRV buyers and if priced competitively should steal a lot of sales from them. The Equinox is too expensive and is losing a lot of sales to bargain shoppers. Comparably equipped is $3K more then the Rav4, $4K more than the Escape and $2K more than the CRV for according to Truecar, not to mention the Terrain which is even more pricey. GM needs the capacity, a lower priced CUV and maintain a price premium on the Nox and Terrain.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Isn’t that idea kind of one of the things that got GM in trouble in the first place?

      Current generation Equinox/Terrain are moving into their 4th model year soon and still selling without any Consumer Cash or 0% offers at a very high transaction price for the segment. Why in the world would you do something to risk that just to chase a few extra sales?

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      Why not just switch the Captiva line at the Ramos Aripe plant to Equinox production? Fleet sales supposedly aren’t profitable and aging Captiva Sport rentals can’t possibly be a good brand ambassador to potential customers. Build just enough Equinoxes to meet demand – you know the way every other manufacturer does and watch the profit margins continue to roll in.

      That probably makes too much sense. GM’s blinding, pointless desire to be #1 inevitably results in nonsense like five variants of the same CUV platform (seven if you count the dead Saab 9-4x and Suzuki XL-7) that share no sheetmetal, and fleet-only models that nominally protect retail transaction prices while unnecessarily restricting retail sales. Since GM’s so dead set on squeezing every last dime out of their tooling, I wonder if the current Equinox will live on as a fleet “Classic” like the last two generations of Malibu did? That did wonders for the residual values.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        ‘Why not just switch the Captiva line at the Ramos Aripe plant to Equinox production? …. Build just enough Equinoxes to meet demand – you know the way every other manufacturer does and watch the profit margins continue to roll in.’

        Why? You do realize that Equinox/Terrain is the best selling 5 passenger crossover in America right? It is outselling the redesigned CR-V this year even though its in its 3rd model year.

        It is selling without rebates and has been for 3 going on 4 model years. You don’t see a lot of commercials for it on TV either.

        So, lets spend a few hundred million dollars to let Ramos Aripe to build more Equinoxes and oversupply the market and have to use rebates to move them?

        Oshawa handles overflow for Equinox now and that will move to Spring Hill in the future. They are doing exactly what you are telling them they should do…building just enough to meet demand.

        The Captiva’s main job is to keep fleet orders away from the Equinox. When they killed the HHR they had the capacity in Mexico to build them. The Captiva doesn’t really replace the HHR in the fleet world because it costs much more….23k and above for the Captiva versus 15k and above for the HHR.

      • 0 avatar

        Whatever happened to all those Saab 94xs anyway. Werent there thousands?

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Second the profits not volume sentiment.

      Also, this will probably change now that the new Escape is almost out, but the Nox is a substantially better car, and it’s bigger. The 4K difference is warranted, and I like the Escape. I don’t recall if the CR-V the last time the CR-V was updated, but if’s the same thing I was in 4 years ago once again I would drop an extra 2k on the Nox without a second thought. Hell, I would drop an extra 10k. Can’t comment on the Rav4. The thing with bargain hunters is that they aren’t really the customers you want. Anything above 20K and you’re into people who are willing to shell out a bit extra for a quality vehicle and aren’t looking to penny pinch. Otherwise they’d be looking used or cheaper.

      The Equinox, some dubious interior color decisions in the base model aside is one of the best cars in the segment as far as I can tell. They should stick with the current formula and try to replicate it as much as they can with other cars.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    isn’t a CX5 not far away and a galaxy ahead in just about every area?

    and new… and Baruth approved?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Once again GM makes a product that’s almost right. They’ll never change. Bailout II is gonna happen in 4-5 years

  • avatar
    mbaruth

    The 4-cyl ‘Nox is a fantastic car. I’ve put over 30k on one in the last year w/o complaint. My guess is GM simply can’t make enough of them to meet demand.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    If bailout 2 is 4-5 years away then bailout 1 was still, on balance, a success. The bailout wasn’t just a matter of saving GM, it was geared to AT LEAST put off the demise of GM long enough for the individuals, companies (suppliers) and communities to arrange a soft landing. Now, 3 years after the bailout, we’ve had thousands of workers off of welfare and paying taxes, dealers selling and servicing cars including older cars, and more employee contributions to pension funds that didn’t have to come out of the public till or the funds of other companies.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      At the time, I didn’t think the bailouts were much more than the postponement of an inevitable collapse.

      That postponement has probably been worthwhile, though optimism about either GM or Chrysler should still be very cautious.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I thought bailout 1 was (if not admittedly) geared to offset the automotive collapse from the banking/housing derivative collapse. Both at the same time would have been the greater depression for sure.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Good article JB, you’ve been keeping us in the loop on these for awhile. I’m scratching my head on this one because I think those cars went for too much on the block for there to be enough room for sufficient profit after all auction fees or CPO fees. I don’t follow the CUV market but I can’t imagine these beating CPO CRVs/Rav-4s on a similar price point. A quick Google search showed a 2011 CRV SE in CT with 20K priced at $24,999. I could see most of these equivalent Captivas listed around 21-22K, may be a tough sell. I also wonder if these would be more difficult to finance because of their fleet only status, maybe not. However if the goal of releasing these is to gauge how well they can sell alongside Equinox and get the dealers used to selling them, it may have actually been a wise move.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      The goal is not to release these to gauge how well they can sell alongside the Equinox and that would not be a wise move.

      Captiva and Equinox are within 7 inches of each other in wheelbase and length…they will NOT sell the Captiva new in the retail environment.

      This was a batch of 50 cars that were probably QRD (company owned and driven by GM Employees)

      Typically, QRD vehicles are tagged and sold to employees through dealerships. I’m guessing (but not 100% sure) that GM won’t allow these to move through these channels so they are auctioning them.

      50 vehicles averaging $23,000 or so each equals a little over a million dollars in revenue to GM. A drop in the bucket but what else should they have done with these vehicles?

      These will enter the used market as they come out of fleets.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So far Chevy has sold 90,097 Equinoxes this year. That’s 18K a month, and a run rate of 216K for 2012.

    GMC has sold 38,807 Terrains year to date. That’s 7.7K a month, and a run rate of 93K for 2012.

    If I count them up like Toyota counts up Prii of Corollas, that’s 309K CUVs for 2012. That’s a big number, and would be more, if counted like Toyotas than the class leading RAV-4. Lets remember too, the Equinox/Terrain aren’t fleet queens, that’s the job of the Captiva.

    As far as the Captiva, had a V6 LT1 as a rental for 617 miles in April and well, we hated it. I would not buy one at any price. The 3.0L V6 is terrible and the interior needs a lot of updating. It is handsome on the outside, quite, and rides great with tremendous interior room and good forward visibility. So it isn’t horrid — but I sure won’t be looking for a used one and GM has no business putting that God awful 3.0 V6 under the hood.

  • avatar
    Durask

    This December I did quite a bit of driving in a rental GMC Terrain.
    I thought it was a very nice SUV in its price range. The styling outside was not my cup of tea but the interior was quite good for the price and the driver’s seat was fantastic (my back knows which seat is good and which one is not).

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    “I thought bailout 1 was (if not admittedly) geared to offset the automotive collapse from the banking/housing derivative collapse.”

    Perhaps you missed the GM Death Watch, started in 2005. Fascinating reading.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      The problem is believing the “Death Watch” ideas presented here, which had little touch with reality and obviously created a distorted narrative of what happened and why.

      GM’s collapse into bankruptcy was a direct and immediate result of the financial crisis which so completely dried up US sales that even vaunted Toyota was dragged to their first every global loss due to just the last 2 1/2 months of 2008. Toyota went on to lose even more than GM in Q1 of 2009. GM, by far the largest player in the US was hit the hardest of any maker by that market collapse.

      GM lost a lot of products as a result of the Auto Task Force’s mandates and it will take time for new ones to be released to fill all the niches GM wants to compete in. Captiva is sold at retail outside the US and was an “off the shelf” solution to complement capacity constrained Equinox/Terrain.

      These prices ought to enlighten readers that independent dealers see real value in this product. In fact, GM average transaction prices exceeded $33,000 last month, which combined with reduced incentives resulted in more than 17% increase in sales revenue vs last year despite a smaller increase in sales volume.

      GM is very profitable and becoming more so as volumes grow along with the market recovery.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        Not. GM is “earning” what money they are no longer paying in interest on the debt (that the bondholders got stuck with). Look at the profit margin between GM and other manufacturers; GM is at the bottom of the list. You can fool some of the people, some of the time…

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        You are right that GM’s margin last year was not as strong as the best players, but you should bone up on your arithmetic, as the margins you read about are EBIT- Earnings Before Interest and Taxes.

        The company generated over $9Billion in operating profit last year, with almost $2B going to preferred stock holders.

        Creation of a new GM, as with any bankruptcy reorganization, resulted in loss to stakeholders. The purpose is to construct a new entity that is viable. GM most certainly is. The most popular vehicles in the world are sold by GM, at least as measured by total sales, and they have generated, I think, 9 quarters of good profit so far.

  • avatar
    Dubbed

    What is this websites fascination with the Captiva. It exist solely as a vehicle for fleet sales. What am I missing here?

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      @ Dubbed
      TTAC B&B love a good deal. Love here for vehicles no one else wants or was looking at is what makes their world go round. Minivans, Stick shift anything, Crown Vic’s and it’s sisters are good examples. Current Impala fan club and such.

      So the fascination with the Captiva? Easy. No one knows about it. That makes B&B feel good as they stay up at night dreaming there will be a fire sale on them soon.

      As for the fleet only status? People hated on Ford, GM & Mopar dropping so many cars into rental and Gov. fleet that the volume retail vehicles became unwanted. Bringing back an unknwn car from a dead company that was not that popular allows GM to give the bloggers their “I drove this %&it rental fleet car story” while the retail vehicles sell good and keep high residuals because no fleet cars arrive from the auction daily. It also allows us to dream about the “what if?””What if there were fleet only cars?”

      As a former (&maybe future) rental manager I can say that the other side of the rental fleet coin is that people get to drive your best & most current offer for extended times. That might be why when a new vehicle is released to fleet as a short term program car found at the likes of Avis & Hertz it will be loaded. Someone who can afford one will be sitting in one on tuesday night at some airport. That someone might be in a dealer with a family member on the weekend full of praise.

  • avatar
    galloping_gael

    GM has had the Captiva listed on its CPO site for at least a couple of months now (been car shopping). A quick search revealed a handful in the New England area moving at roughly those price points.

  • avatar
    DenverInfidel

    I went to Albuquerque for a golf trip and saw one of these in the parking lot. I was wondering where it had come from. It was obviously a last gen Vue with Chevy badges, but I figured maybe it came from south of the border or something. Was not aware it was a rental/fleet queen; always learning something on ttac.

  • avatar
    Buzz Killington

    I saw one of these one the road the other day, and I couldn’t figure out why someone would re-badge their Vue.

  • avatar
    TurboDeezl

    Captiva is a nice SUV. Previous poster was spot on- most sold at Manheim Detroit were GM Company vehicles though there was a sprinkling of rentals in there as well. Typically, the GM Company cars bring more money than rentals. BTW, the 4 cylinder front wheel drive Sports sold for approx $21,500-$22,400. And no, the certification is not $898. Try $369. As far as marking up a vehicle $3,000 blindly, I would argue that a competent pre owned manager has several resources to price a vehicle accordingly. Also included is 2 years no charge maintenance and finance rates as low as 1.9%

  • avatar
    Augie the Argie

    I always liked the 2nd-gen Vue, now Captiva. I would get one once the price is right, and wouldn’t mind a new one… Finally I hope GM brings over the Opels back to North America!!!

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The past few weeks I have seen a few of these around NYC. I wonder why they did not just put the Buick badge on it as their entry level CUV.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Really, people want these? Outdated min-CUV that is mediocre at best when compared to the current outgoing models of other cute-utes?

    Really, the Equinox is just flying off of the shelves to the point they can’t stock them?

    I can’t believe there would be a demand for something so average, regardless of its apparent merits when evaluated in a total vacuum.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    @ FJ60. I wrote above about why GM would do it. They all tried with the fleet only car in the past like the upto 2007 Taurus and both Malibu “Classics”. It fails the main model and it’s residuals.

    A used car has a differnt dynamic then a new car. It could have been noting much new yet as a used car it might be priced to give a lot for the $$$.
    GM is building used cars here & making good $ on the already paid for tooling. Retail sales & marketing incentives are zero and used product does not hurt the other brand names.
    I’m all for it. Just be smart about how this is done.

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