By Joseph Lichterman
DETROIT — General Motors Co., in a move to appeal to new buyers, said today that it will allow consumers to return any new 2012 or 2013 model year Chevrolet for a full refund within 60 days, if they’re unhappy with their purchase.
Chevrolet also said it would offer lower pricing on all 2012s on top of other incentives the automaker already has in place. Chevy is promising one simple, no-haggle price on all its vehicles, naming the promotion "Total Confidence Pricing."
As automakers begin to transition to the 2013 model year, Chevrolet is hoping to boost sales by drawing in shoppers who wouldn’t have otherwise considered a Chevy, while also improving the brand’s long-term image.
After gaining U.S. market share in 2010 and 2011, Chevrolet has slipped this year. Sales are up 6 percent through June in a market that has risen 15 percent.
GM said the new promotion runs through Sept. 4.
If the vehicle was driven for fewer than 4,000 miles and has no damage, consumers will be able to return the vehicle for a refund of the purchase price and sales tax. The refund offer, valid between 31 and 60 days of taking delivery, doesn’t include non-GM accessories, finance charges, extended warranties, or license fees.
Chris Perry, Chevrolet’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement that the guarantee assuages drivers’ apprehensions about purchasing a new vehicle.
"Our research shows consumers are reassured of the quality of a product and like the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have the option of being able to return their vehicle," Perry said in the statement.
Full program details and limitations are available at chevyconfidence.com.
In September 2009, during the immediate wake of GM’s exit from bankruptcy, the automaker offered a similar promotion called "May the best car win." A series of popular ads featured then-GM chairman Ed Whitacre offering customers the option to return any new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac if they were unhappy.
GM said it sold more than 419,000 vehicles during the promotion and only 310 consumers returned them.
TrueCar.com analyst Jesse Toprak said the promotion is an attempt to "improve the image of the brand on a long-term basis."
Chevrolet "is indicating that they’re confident in their vehicles," Toprak said, signaling that even if a consumer ends up just visiting a showroom and not buying a vehicle, they may have an improved impression of the Chevy brand.
In a statement, Chevrolet also noted that many of its dealers have recently refurbished their showrooms, thereby tying the promotion to its nationwide facilities program.
The automaker has already offered several other cash incentives to clear out old models before the 2013 vehicles come to showrooms. Last month, GM offered a $3,000 cash discount on the 2012 Malibu, according to AIS Rebates, a company in Ann Arbor, Mich., that tracks industry incentives.
Malibu sales in the United States increased 32 percent in June over the year-earlier period.
PRESS RELEASE: Chevrolet Backs New Vehicle Lineup with Guarantee
DETROIT – Chevrolet is building on the momentum of record breaking global sales and the total transformation of its product lineup by making consumers a bold new guarantee – if you don’t love it, return it.
Starting today participating U.S. retailers will offer the Chevy Confidence program which includes:
• "Love it or Return it" – a 60-day, vehicle return program on every new 2012 or 2013 model year vehicle purchase. It’s simple – if you don’t love it, return it.
• "Total Confidence Pricing" – all 2012 model year Chevrolets will be offered at the best possible prices in addition to all current vehicle-specific incentives. No mystery about it – the price you see is the price you pay.
• For full program details and limitations go to chevyconfidence.com.
"We have transformed the Chevrolet lineup, so there is no better time than now to reach out to new customers with a satisfaction guarantee and very attractive, bottom line pricing," said Chris Perry, Chevrolet vice president of marketing. "We think customers who have been driving competitive makes or even older Chevrolets will be very pleased by today’s Chevrolet designs, easy-to-use technologies, comprehensive safety and the quality built into all of our cars, trucks and crossovers."
With a solid new lineup of vehicles to sell, Chevrolet’s U.S. dealers have worked to elevate the retail experience by undergoing a transformation of their own. The results are new showrooms that better showcase the brand, and more highly trained staffs delivering a greater level of customer service.
"Chevy Confidence adds another element of convenience to the retail experience that is sure to attract consumers to our showrooms, and we know through first-hand experience that once they get behind the wheel of one of our new products, they are more likely to take one home," said Steve Hurley, owner of Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City, Fla.
Chevrolet sold 4.76 million vehicles around the world in 2011, setting a global sales record, and is on track to build on that success in 2012 with its best-ever first quarter global sales of 1.18 million vehicles. The U.S. was the brand’s leading market and was the leader in both passenger car and performance car sales in 2011. During the past two calendar years, Chevrolet has grown faster than other high-volume global brands, bringing its global market share to 6.28 percent.
Chevrolet vehicles are consistently recognized for delivering the quality, features and fuel economy that consumers want. For example, the Malibu was recently recognized as the highest-performing midsize car in the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality StudySM. The Silverado HD, Avalanche and Tahoe were also among the top three in their respective segments and the Chevrolet brand turned in its best-ever performance in the study with an overall improvement of 8 percent.
Edmunds.com and Parents magazine have also recognized the Cruze Eco and Sonic as two of the Best Family Cars for 2012. Both the Cruze Eco and Sonic deliver fuel economy of 40 mpg or more on the highway and offer consumers the comfort, safety and advanced technology they expect at a value.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.