GM announces employee discounts in incentive plan

UPDATED: 8/19/08 10:51 a.m. EDT DETROIT -- General Motors says it will offer employee discounts to everyone starting Wednesday, Aug. 20. The sale will apply to all of GM’s eight brands.

“We are going to have an employee-discount-for-everyone program,” GM spokesman John McDonald confirmed Monday.

GM formally announced the program earlier today.

In a memo to Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers, GM said the sale would run Aug. 20 through Sept. 2. For the B-P-G channel, the employee pricing would apply to all 2008 models and the 2009 Pontiac Vibe. Customers could get up to $6,000 cash plus the employee discount.

The memo says 91 percent of B-P-G inventory is eligible for the sale.

All 2008 Chevrolet models also would be eligible for the discount, a dealer said. The discount would apply to 90 percent of Chevrolet inventory.

GM says the sale will apply to all eight brands.

Typically, an employee discount offers a substantial savings.

The discount will vary depending on the vehicle line. But consumers can expect price cuts of several thousand dollars. For instance, a 2008 Buick Enclave crossover that lists for $44,010 will sell for an employee price of $39,561. A Buick Lucerne sedan that lists for $35,220 carries an employee price of $31,813.

GM, in its announcement today, said it is marketing its employee pricing incentive as a 100th anniversary present for consumers. GM celebrates its 100th anniversary on Sept. 16.

Customers can get the GM employee price on all 2008 models remaining in stock with the exception of medium-duty trucks. The incentive is effective for the Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Saturn, Cadillac, Saab and Hummer brands. Also eligible are the following 2009 models: Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Vibe, Pontiac G5 and Cadillac CTS.

“We have 100 years of innovation behind us, but what’s ahead is even more exciting,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president of GM North America vehicle sales, service and marketing, in a prepared statement. “… To celebrate, we’re offering the employee discount to everyone on our 2008 and some of our 2009 models. This is a phenomenal offer for consumers.”Besides the employee pricing, GM will offer cash back on slower-selling light trucks including the Silverado pickup, said the dealer, who had just been briefed by GM. The company last offered employee pricing on a wide scale in the summer of 2005.

The program was successful, but by year end, some inside GM expressed regret for allowing it to run as long as it did. The program pulled customers so far ahead that year-end sales suffered.

When asked whether GM has concerns that the same effect could happen again, GM’s McDonald declined to comment.

Reuters contributed to this report

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com

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