Friday, June 30, 2006

Letter to GM About the GM Card

One of my favorite websites,, has a section in its forums where you can post open letters to GM (they do ask that they be constructive), and then other users can feel free to comment on them if they wish. For the past few weeks, I have wanted to write a letter complaining about the fact that you can't use GM Card earnings toward the purchase or lease of a new Saturn, so I figured I'd post the letter both here and there to get maximum exposure. :) (I'm sure I get much more exposure there than here, but I digress...) I already complained about this subject in a comment to one of Bob Lutz's posts on his Fastlane Blog, and my comment was posted, but not responded to as far as I know. Here is what I have to say; the post on GMI can be found here.

Dear GM,

I am a former and hopefully future customer of yours. I have owned more than a dozen GM products in the 15 years that I have been driving and loved most of them dearly. Unfortunately, when I chose the last two new cars for our family, GM did not have any compelling products in my price range that interested me enough to buy them, so I took my business elsewhere. However, I am very excited as a GM fan for the upcoming product assault and GM vehicles will be on my shopping list when it's time to buy our next new vehicles. I am also a long-term GM Card member (over eight years) and have accumulated quite a nest egg (about $3,600) in earnings. I have an original card with annual earning limits, but no redemption limits.

Unfortunately, while I am particularly excited about the direction that Saturn is taking, with the Sky roadster, Aura sedan, and Outlook crossover, it is extremely frustrating to me that the entire current and future Saturn lineup is excluded from GM Card redemptions. I find the Saturn choices, and dealership experience (I know - we owned two Saturns previously) to be much more appealing than the alternatives at Pontiac or Chevrolet. However, the incredible amount of money (over $80,000) that I have spent on the GM Card goes unrewarded in my local Saturn store because of some reason that is unclear to me.

I understand that in the past, Saturn was not a regular "division" of GM, and didn't share any products with any mainstream GM divisions. This is no longer the case, however. Saturn is now structured as a regular GM division, albeit one with a reputation for fantastic customer service. Every vehicle in Saturn's 2007/2008 lineup has a counterpart elsewhere within GM; the Outlook is a Lambda like the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave; the Aura is an Epsilon like the Pontiac G6 and Chevy Malibu; the Sky is a Kappa like the Pontiac Solstice; the Ion is a Delta like the Chevy Cobalt. I can use my GM Card earnings on any of those alternative products, but not on the Saturn version.

Suppose when I am in the market for my next car in a year or two, and I really like the Aura (which will hopefully have a Redline version by then...hint, hint!), but had a great experience with my Honda Accord, and am considering another Accord, and perhaps an Acura TL. The interior of the G6 disappoints me too much, so it's not on the short list. The current Malibu, unfortunately, isn't even on the long list. :) An Aura Redline would have a great shopping advantage over the Honda and Acura for me because of the $3,600 on the hood courtesy of my 8-10 years of GM Card charges (which will not reduce residual values because it's not a rebate available to everyone that might cheapen the brand). In a perfect world, customers would pick the Saturn over the Acura even if they are the same price, but since the world isn't perfect, and neither is the Aura, that $3,600 may be a decision maker for me, and not the decision that Mr. Wagoner and Mr. Lutz would like me to make.

Let's say that my wife and I agree to purchase a new car for weekends and sunny days. My final choices are the Pontiac Solstice or the Saturn Sky. The Solstice is a nice car, but the Sky looks incredible. I want a Sky, but not for $3,500 more than the Solstice. They're built in the same factory by the same workers, and are basically identical under their skin. But one gets the benefit of GM Card redemption eligibility and one does not.

I cannot manage to understand why on earth you would exclude Saturn from GM Card redemptions. If you really want Saturn to succeed as a vanguard to the new GM, with exciting, realistically priced products, good performance and economy, and attractive interiors, then you might be able to help it and your company out by extending this program to the Saturn division too. And, if you do that, consider extending it to Saab next. Saturn first though, please. :)

Thank you for your time and consideration.

And, to my reader(s), thanks for listening, and have an enjoyable and safe Independence day.


Lorra said...

Hey, I agree with what you have written, I am a GM fan too and I was using their services for many years. I drive Hnda Accord now and as well as you I enjoy this vehicle! GM is a good and reliable company for me.

Anonymous said...

My uncle bought GM trucks and a Caprice Classic ; my folks bought a Camaro years ago. Because of these "exclusionary games" I'm looking at Toyota and Honda even though I'd like to buy American even though they send the work I might do for them offshore. So - until they knock off these games I guess I'll have to kick the comatose giant in the shins.

D.S. - Colorado