In an effort to ignite sales, some Cadillac dealers are offering customers the General Motors employee discount.
A GM spokesman says it is not unusual for individual dealers to take such an initiative to attract buyers.
According to GM, the employee discount is not a fixed amount, and the percentage varies per vehicle.
The savings would average about 4 percent below invoice, said one Cadillac dealer who asked to remain anonymous. A customer would save about $2,000 on a $50,000 Cadillac, with the cost borne by the dealer.
Gordon Stewart, owner of Gordon Cadillac in Ann Arbor, Mich., gave the GM discount to any customer who walked into his Cadillac or Saab stores on May 7.
"It worked very well, especially for Saab," Stewart says. "We had a field day. It was our best Saab month in a year and really attracted a lot of attention."
Extending the employee discount to nonemployee customers seems to be a regional practice; several dealers outside the Detroit area hadn't heard about it. Consumer awareness of employee discounts is high in metro Detroit with its heavy concentration of automotive employees.
Jacques Moore of Moore Cadillac in Richmond, Va., wasn't aware of dealers extending the employee discount to nonemployee customers. But he says he understands the interest.
A dealer in Ohio who didn't want to be named says he won't do such a program unless GM is backing it.
Other Detroit-area dealers were doing an extended version of the promotion. Gary Stanford, president of Les Stanford Cadillac in Dearborn, Mich., made the discount available during May.
"It's a great way for us to draw some additional traffic," Stanford says.
In the first four months of this year, Cadillac sold 70,324 units, up 4.0 percent from 67,593 from the year-ago period. In April, Cadillac sold 20,251 units, up 23.3 percent from 16,418 in April 2004.
Several dealers have heard that GM may offer a similar one-day national program in June. A GM spokesman says the company will not comment on programs before they begin.
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