DETROIT - GM needs Chevrolet to sell a lot of new cars for a lot of reasons.
Yes, the company is getting more and more profitable globally. But this new, post-bankruptcy GM will succeed very differently than in the past.
As thing stand right now, GM's market share in the U.S. is under 17 percent; a number not seen in a century! Last months sales, were pretty good but overall this year, they've been lackluster.
GM needs to get stronger in the U.S. market. To do that, it needs new and fresh product and still fresher thinking.
GM is going to be replacing a number of its older designs soon. The Malibu comes to mind first. GM is also adding a tiny little car called the Spark to its Chevrolet line up. For all of this activity, GM needs room on the Chevrolet showroom floors.
So what do you do? You incentivize the customer in order to move the old metal.
Still, in the post-bankruptcy world, selling cars with high dollar amounts on the hood is a profit killing no-no. More creativity was required.
GM looked back over the past four years to see what worked and its money back guarantee seemed like what the doctor ordered. Thus, Tuesday it rolled out the "Love it or Return it" program.
Buy a new 2012 or 2013 Chevy, take it home. Should you decide you don't like it before you ring up 4,000 miles and don't crease any fenders or strip any gears, you get to bring it back, no harm no foul.
On top of that, it will sell you that car with no haggle employee pricing. Analysts estimate it will save the average car buyer about $1,000 along with the peace of mind their new Chevy doesn't have to stay in the garage if it does not live up to expectations.
This all sounds like there's something new under the sun.
But it isn't! This is all tried and true stuff with a new marketing wrapper.
That's not to say it's a bad thing or that it won't work. It's what GM needs to do to succeed.
Dan Ackerson and his company realize they need to goose their U.S. sales because Europe can't be counted for much if any profit [it's losing GM billions] and economists and analysts are projecting a downturn in China's voracious economic appetite. There, GM is especially strong right now.
The real winner here though is the customer. Getting high quality cars at good prices with money back guarantees changes the entire auto buying landscape. This should succeed nicely and for all the right reasons.
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