Automotive Finances & Money

GM offering money-back guarantee!

UPDATE! View the full 14 requirements for the program below…

In what could easily just be a publicity stunt, GM (owner of Chevy, GMC, Buick and Cadillac brands) has decided to offer a 60 day money-back guarantee on all of its cars.

Here are the bullet points from the GM Media Online article:

  1. The Eligible Vehicle must be a new 2009 or 2010 model.
  2. You have purchased an Eligible Vehicle and taken Delivery between September 14, 2009 and November 30, 2009.
  3. You must be able to deliver to the Participating Dealership a clean and unencumbered title to the Eligible Vehicle, which title has remained in Your name since the Delivery Date of the Eligible Vehicle.
  4. You must be an individual natural person who is the title owner of the Eligible Vehicle. Businesses, corporations and partnerships do not qualify.
  5. Your Eligible Vehicle’s odometer must not have more than 4,000 miles since the Delivery Date.
  6. Your Eligible Vehicle must have been registered and insured in the Buyer’s name since the Delivery Date.
  7. Your Eligible Vehicle must have no more than $200 of damage as determined by GM or GM’s agent.. Such damage may include, without limitation, internal or external scratches, scrapes, dents, odors, rips, burns, etc.
  8. Your Eligible Vehicle may not be leased.
  9. Your Eligible Vehicle must have been returned to a Participating Dealership where You purchased it, in the same working order as it was on the Delivery Date.
  10. Your Eligible Vehicle must not have incurred damage or non-warranted repairs in excess of $200, regardless of whether such damage has been repaired.
  11. Your Eligible Vehicle must not have been subject to any liens or other security interests other than a lien for the original financing used to purchase the Eligible Vehicle.
  12. A minimum of thirty (30) days must have passed since the Delivery Date of Your Eligible Vehicle.
  13. Only one Eligible Vehicle may be returned per household.
  14. Your Eligible Vehicle must pass a purchase inspection conducted by GM or GM’s agent.

My Opinion

I’m keenly interested in new cars, so much so that I started a car blog (although I’ve had to pause writing for it until I graduate grad school). I’ve been following what’s coming out of Detroit and comparing it to the competition, and I can say that at least Ford and GM are improving (Chrysler is a lost cause. Seriously, the Sebring? Caliber? Ugh).

Ford is making the most headway because it got through the recession without declaring bankruptcy, although it dropped half of its brands (Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover), and quality is much improved over prior years. It’s bringing over the European Ford Fiesta (MUCH better than the last one America had years ago). Even the new Taurus is almost on a luxury level. And I drove the Ford Fusion and that’s a car I would actually consider!

But this article is about GM, not Ford. GM has some good cars too, but it’s talking as if it should be proud of its entire lineup. It shouldn’t be:

Good GM Cars (of their remaining brands):

  • Pontiac G8: Oh, sorry, they’re dropping their best vehicle. The G8 won’t be carried over into Chevy when Pontiac drives into the sunset, even though car pundits put it on the level of the BMW 5 series/M5.
  • Chevy Malibu: We had a 2005 Malibu and IT SUCKED! But the redesigned Malibu is definitely a competitor and worth considering.
  • Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave: GM has a great crossover here, but too bad they put it out to all their brands (including Saturn, which is going away).
  • Any Chevy trucks: Both Chevy and Ford have greatly improved the Silverado and F-150, respectively, and if you need a work truck, they’re worth considering. But if you just have a couple kids, get something smaller please.
  • Cadillac CTS: Auto journalists almost all agree the Cadillac CTS, especially the supercharged CTS-V, is better that the German competition, and cheaper too. I’m just not into the edgy styling. Never have been.
  • Corvette: You can’t beat the Corvette for performance bang for your buck, but the interior explains where the money savings are. Accountants planned the interior while auto enthusiasts took care of the rest.
  • Buick LaCrosse: The brand new LaCrosse may be able to bring in younger buyers. It has sharp styling and good standard options. Much better than the outgoing LaCrosse (I had one as a rental and the only good thing was comfortable seats). If they bring over the Buick Regal that they sell in China, then they’ll have a hit, at least with the 40+ crowd (which is 20 years younger than their average buyers).

Bad GM Cars:

  • Chevy Aveo: Sorry, it’sa Daewoo (Korean), and a bad one at that. Don’t even think of buying the Aveo, please.
  • Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon: It’s a cheap, crappy, unsafe small truck with no power and poor finish. Go with the Toyota Tacoma.
  • Chevy Impala: It’s a fleet car for a reason. There’s no logical explanation for anyone to buy the current Impala over the Malibu for any reason, even if you get $10,000 off the stupid thing. PLEASE bring the G8 back as the new Impala, PLEASE!
  • The whole GMC brand: Why would you spend thousands more on the same vehicle you can get in a Chevy dealership? At least jump up to a Cadillac. There’s no reason to keep this brand except it’s still easy enough for GM to make money off simple brand engineering.

I’m tempted to list the Camaro and Chevy Cobalt under bad cars, but they do have some redeeming qualities. The Cobalt SS is an amazing performance deal (too bad they’re dropping this as well), and the Camaro is only ever comparable to the Mustang (better) and Dodge Challenger (so-so), but that’s a small niche for comparison.

If you want to take advantage of the GM money-back guarantee, I suggest buying from the “Good” cars list, because if you buy from the “Bad” cars list, you’ll definitely want to take it back. With the GMC, you’ll realize you overpaid and will feel buyer’s remorse. With the others, you’ll just have a crappy car.

Then again, what’s stopping you from basically “renting” a car for a month? My questions are 1) do you get taxes/registration/fees refunded? 2) Is it really “no questions asked”?

If anyone goes through with a purchase under this program, let me know how it goes!

About the author

Clever Dude


  • So what is stopping people from signing up to drive a free car for 4,000 miles vs.

    A. Paying for a rental car?
    B. Driving their own car?
    C. Returning it, and then buying it back again, at the used car price?

  • Here’s a link to the NY Times piece on the program:

    It says: ‘Analysts saw little downside to the campaign. “The risk that G.M. has in buyers returning its vehicles is very minimal,” said Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of the auto research Web site’

    I think this is a pretty strange campaign. How often do people want to return a car right after buying it? A money back guarantee would not compel me to buy a car. After putting the work into finding the right car and negotiating the right price – the last thing I’d want to do is return it and start over.

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