GM “Confidence” Another Messy Experiment

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Image: Edmunds InsideLine

GM has total confidence in you–if you buy a car, then lose your job. Its new “Total Confidence” program hands car buyers up to $500/month if they get a pink slip after buying the car. The Wall Street Journal has more:

Ford said early Tuesday it will offer 0% financing through its finance arm and will cover payments for up to 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle if customers lose their jobs. The offer will run through June 1.

Just hours later, GM weighed in with its plan, which provides payment protection for the first 24 months of ownership. If a buyer loses his income, the company will make up to nine months’ worth of payments for up to $500 a month. GM will also help protect the retail value of a new vehicle at trade-in time for a customer’s next GM vehicle.

This system targets people who have a lot of faith in GM and Ford, but no faith in their job security. Could the target market be existing employees of those very companies? I have trouble believing that in an age where credit card companies cut people off, loans are difficult to procure, and 12.5+ million people are already unemployed, the move will make much of a difference.

Remember how GM shunted $1 billion worth of bailout funds to Latin America? From GM’s perspective, this was a smart business move. It’s just that lately, in this country, smart corporate moves seem to have no influence on the national economy.

When it comes to autos, the government is clueless as well. Recall the Chevy Volt tax break passed late last year. Now, the Obama task force has found that…

…the Chevy Volt, the electric-powered car that GM had touted as the flagship of its future, as too expensive compared with its gas-powered peers to be viable in the near term.

(Washington Post)

It sounds like the task force found that the Volt, due out in 2010, still won’t cut the butter a year from now. So what hope does GM have in the “near term”?

The GM Confidence Credit, like the automaker bailouts before it, is nothing but a desperate experiment. Chrysler and Fiat have a plan, but GM and Ford need a miracle to prosper in the US economy.

Hopefully, that miracle won’t involve the government.

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Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.