G.M. to Make a 60-Day Money-Back Offer
DETROIT — In an all-out effort to restore confidence in its products,
General Motors will offer a 60-day, money-back guarantee on all its
vehicles beginning on Monday, according to people involved in the
As part of its marketing campaign, G.M.’s new chairman, Edward E.
Whitacre Jr., will be featured as the company’s spokesman in a new
television commercial designed to lure consumers back to the company’s
The commercials, which feature the slogan “May the Best Car Win,” will
make their debut on national television on Sunday. Mr. Whitacre, the
former chairman of AT&T, will make a direct appeal to consumers to try
G.M. vehicles — and return them after 60 days for a full refund if they
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” Mr. Whitacre says in the
commercial, according to people who have seen the campaign.
The “Satisfaction Guaranteed” program is thought to be the first time
that a major automaker has offered a full refund on a vehicle after it
has been sold. The program will cover all of G.M.’s core American brands
— Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and GMC — and run through November.
The money-back program was conceived by G.M. executives and its board as
a dramatic way to promote the quality of the company’s product line
after its emergence from bankruptcy in July.
There is no mention in the ad campaign of the $50 billion in taxpayers’
dollars that provided G.M.’s financial bailout this year, or the fact
that the federal government owns 60 percent of the company.
Instead, the campaign and money-back promotion is an attempt to focus
attention on G.M.’s cars and trucks.
Mr. Whitacre, 67, has said that G.M. must halt its slide in market share
in the United States. The company, which once held a 50 percent share of
the market in the 1960s, has a 19 percent share so far this year.
The use of Mr. Whitacre as a spokesman is reminiscent of Lee Iacocca’s
ads in the 1980s as chairman of Chrysler, when he coined the slogan “If
You Can Find a Better Car — Buy It.”
Those ads helped Chrysler rebound after the company needed federal
loan-guarantees to stave off bankruptcy.
Other automotive executives have appeared in ads with less success. In
2006, Chrysler failed to jump-start sales with advertisements featuring
DaimlerChrysler’s chief executive, Dieter Zetsche.
G.M. declined to comment today in the upcoming advertising campaign or
the money-back promotion. The automaker’s board officially approved the
campaign this week.