WASHINGTON -- General Motors Co. is offering 45-day discounts of as much as $2,000 a vehicle to 950,000 customers of the company's closed dealerships -- a move criticized as “inappropriate” by a leader of a group of rejected dealers.
The automaker started sending letters Nov. 16 to some customers of stores that have already shut down or lost a franchise, company spokeswoman Jordana Strosberg said today.
The incentive program offers discounts of between $1,000 and $2,000 on most models of its four surviving U.S. brands, according to a copy of a GM letter to dealers outlining the program.
The size of the discount depends on the customer's “likelihood to purchase a GM vehicle and the relative distance to the next closest dealer,” the letter said.
“This is our way of trying to keep our current customers in the GM family by making it easy for them to get back into a dealership,” Strosberg said.
It is not clear what impact if any the GM offer will have on ongoing negotiations with rejected dealers over possible restoration of their rights.
Still, the new GM incentives left one dealer advocate distressed about the timing.
“This is an inappropriate time to take such an aggressive measure,” said Tamara Darvish, a leader of the Committee to Restore Dealer Rights, a group of rejected dealers that is participating in the talks. “If in fact dealer rights are to be restored, why would GM go in and move all those customers?”