General Motors may already have a number of other holiday-themed sales events underway, but it appears as though it may have saved the greatest rebates for last. The company has let dealers know that they will be eligible for significant discounts for each 'non-core' vehicle sold from the 23rd of December until stocks run out.
What exactly is a non-core vehicle? The term is GM-speak for brands which have been discontinued. Currently, it refers to any Pontiac or Saturn vehicle on the lot, although with Saab's pulse rate fading fast, Swedish automobiles may also soon take their turn doing the discount dance.
Instead of the standard type of rebate offer, which is offered and advertised directly to buyers, in this instance General Motors is giving dealerships a hefty sum for each vehicle they can get out the door - $7,000 to be exact. This bonus cash from corporate essentially gives dealers a significant amount of leeway in the pricing of Pontiac and Saturn models. Each dealership can choose to either offer a full $7,000 discount per vehicle, or keep some of those funds for themselves and offer a slightly less aggressive price cut.
Should the full amount be slashed off the MSRP, then there could be some amazing deals to hit the streets in the coming weeks. Such a dramatic price drop would see the stickers of some Pontiacs fall well below $10,000, while numerous other Pontiac and Saturn vehicles would hover just above that amount. For a brand new car or crossover SUV, these prices are the equivalent of what one would expect to pay for an example that is several years into the used market. In the case of the Pontiac G3, the least expensive model affected by the sale, prices could conceivably drop almost 50 percent compared to new.
With approximately 14,500 vehicles currently sitting on Pontiac and Saturn lots across the country, General Motors has basically performed an interesting accounting trick to convert inventory into cash. The full details of the rebate described above have the General permitting dealers to purchase brand new cars, mark them as fleet vehicles and then sell them at much lower prices as 'used' models. This makes a dealership eligible for the $7,000 payout.
As with any range of discontinued models, the most desirable versions will be the first to leave showrooms. Given the company's current rate of sale for each of these brands, it is likely that very, very few will remain by the beginning of January, which means that in order to take advantage of this sudden display of largess, it will be necessary to act quickly.