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Former Saturn, Pontiac Owners Rejecting GM, Seeking Other Brands

By Joel Arellano | June 22, 2011
General Motors knew from its experience shuttering Oldsmobile in 2004 that it would lose loyal customers when it closed its Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn brands as part of its bankruptcy deal with the government in 2009. Thus, the automaker took steps to minimize such “conquests”, or customers switching car brands, from happening. Last March, GM offered a $1,000 incentive to Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn owners when purchasing a new GM vehicle. Later, the incentive was extended to all current GM vehicle owners in January and February of this year. GM, knowing the importance of vehicle maintenance and service, moved to connect it customers to alternative brands and dealerships such as Chevrolet to meet their vehicle needs. It has also offered one-year free-maintenance for the brands as well as special promotions and deals including opportunities to test-drive new GM vehicles. Dealerships have also gotten into the act, offering additional discounts and services such as free oil changes. "The size of owner base is very important to us," stated Julie Heisel, GM's director of customer lifecycle management. "And we want to do everything possible to retain these owners." The stakes are high, with three million Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn vehicles still in motion on U.S. roads alone. When GM discontinued the brands, it watched as a majority of owners switched to automakers like Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. According to the Detroit News, GM kept, in 2010, 39 percent of Hummer owners in the fold; 36 percent from Pontiac; and 26 percent from Saturn. These figures are a far cry from the industry average of 48 percent or even Chevy’s 55 percent retention rate. Saturn owners and dealerships, especially, are inclined to slip-slide away to the competition due to the brand’s unique “counterculture” image, a sharp contrast to GM’s mainstream Chevrolet brand. Ford has also struggled to retain customers from driving off after closing its Mercury brand, which was discontinued last year. The Ford folks have had a slightly easier time due to the low price difference between Ford and Mercury vehicles and the similarity between them, as Mercury cars were little more than Ford re-badges. The automaker’s retention rate of Mercury owners is 46 percent, slightly below industry average. Do you own a Hummer, Mercury, Pontiac or Saturn vehicle? What incentives and services, if any, has either General Motors or Ford offered that keeps you interested in the brands? Let us know in the comments below. Source: Detroit News
  • Hummer H2 Sut Concept Front Left
  • Mercury Milan Front Left Spokesperson Jill Wagner
  • 2009 Saturn Sky Front Right
  • 2008 Saturn Aura Front Left
  • 2009 Pontiac G8 Front Right

One mad as hell Indian lover. What were you people thinking? Killing the only High Po car GM was selling? If you didn't want to sell the G8 call it a firebird or what ever, but to call it a "Chevrolet "and try to sell it to the Police as a persuit vehicle is very wrong to those who own a "G8 Pontiac!" Please bring back the Firebird and not like a" FAT"-- -- -- Camaro.

Jim Longster
Jim Longster

I just wish GM would leave me and my wife alone. After trashing the only truly well made American Vehicle, and taking full control of Saturn, while still leading us to believe that "Saturn" was still in control of the engineering and design criteria. I then, thinking it was still a Saturn bough the new GM VUE. A Very Dangerous Vehicle! The rear suspension has no way to lubricate the pivot points for the A frame, so the bolts froze inside the bushings over time. The "A" frame finally cut through the bolt head leading to the drivers side rear wheel folding against the frame. Had my 2 children, with 2 of my grandchildren, been driving over 10 miles an hour (they all live in a small rural town and going anywhere means highway speeds) the vehicle would have flipped. The GM (Saturn) dealer told me that if the suspension gets wet this can happen . . . . . . IT IS AN SUV! LOOK AT YOUR COMMERCIALS, IDIOTS! You show them going up freakin mountains, IN THE SNOW, and the suspension can go bad IF IT GETS WET!?!?!?! So, in short GM, you are lucky, Very, Very Lucky. Will I EVER buy a gm product? Not a Chance! Do I tell everyone about the dangerous design that you allowed on this model, and IN other small SUVs with the actual GM brand . . . . YES, every time I meet one of them I look at the rear suspension, and tell them they are driving a Time Bomb. But, since I am only a Master Machinist, prototype designer (and builder), and an inventor of unique mechanical devices, this is only my opinion. Jim