Groupon and LaFontaine Buick/GMC/Cadillac Dealership Partner for Special Offer

By Jason Davis | July 13, 2011
Dealerships are constantly on the hunt for inexpensive perks with high value perception to lure in buyers. Enter Groupon, whose discount voucher program has swept the world with a flurry of regional deals. The company is expanding into the automotive world with its first client, LaFontaine Buick GMC Cadillac, in Highland, Michigan. For $199, shoppers can buy a $500 discount on a LaFontaine vehicle, a savings of $301. The deal, which began Tuesday, runs through Wednesday and has been capped at a maximum of 150 vouchers, according to Robert Milner, General Sales Manager of LaFontaine dealerships. The dealership typically pays $350 to $400 for advertising per vehicle and stands to lose about $400 per voucher including $100 per voucher to Groupon. Despite the cost, Milner suggests the deal has potential to increase sales and serve as effective advertising.
“We’re dipping a toe in it. But if I get 150 people and it costs $400 per commitment, I’m all in on that,” he said to Crain's Detroit Business.
Though this is the kind of fresh thinking that may help some dealerships spike sales in a tough economic climate, we’re not sure $301 in savings will make enough of a difference for some consumers. Comments on the LaFontaine Groupon page reflect similar criticism. Some shoppers are worried about losing negotiating power. If a deal cannot be reached, the Groupon voucher, which expires, is a $199 waste of money. To allay concerns, Milner has responded with a guarantee to honor the voucher for "$199.00 in our service, parts or body shop departments. Purchase accessories, have routine maintenance done or have those annoying dings, dents and scratches repaired." While we maintain a "wait and see" approach, we want to hear from you. Is Groupon the next big trend in car buying? Source: Crain's Detroit Business, Groupon