Now that the destiny of the domestic automakers is starting to unfold, two questions come to mind. Is it smart to buy a Pontiac, Saturn or Chrysler, and if it is, are there deals to be had to compensate for the perceived risk?
The bottom line is this: With all three brands on the chopping block, good deals have been in effect for a while as auto dealers tried to drive the skeptical car buying public into their showrooms.
The fact is that this is a great time to buy a car, just about any car. Simply put, sales are still slow, albeit maybe slightly on the upswing from rock bottom, and dealers are more willing to negotiate downward, starting with the invoice price, or what they paid for the car, versus the sticker price. Still, don't expect to see prices drop dramatically further on a Pontiac, Saturn, Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge just because their demise is known or their life is in question, at least not right now. Prices are already so low that many cars are being sold with little or no profit margin.
So, is this a good time to buy a Pontiac, Saturn, Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge? The answer is absolutely if you had your eye on one. However, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to head to these brands if you had another comparable vehicle in mind.
But in any case you should better be sure about your choice. If the car is discontinued completely versus being produced later under another manufacturer, the resale value will most likely be lower than it would have been if the car had stayed in production. If you're willing to trade low price now for potential poor residual value later, then make a deal.
Still, many of these cars are worth a second look. For example, the Pontiac G8 sports sedan and the Saturn Sky convertible (pictured) have received rave reviews recently while many entries from these brands have achieved major awards over the years like the Dodge Ram pickup and Dodge Charger muscle car. Cars purchased from these nameplates will be covered under their full warranty by the automaker or its new parent company. The warranties also will be backed by the U.S. government if the automaker cannot keep its warranty guarantee.
In my opinion, the government will not leave you holding the bag, Chrysler will do well with Fiat and Pontiac will remain covered in its obsolescence with GM parts and service. If Pontiacs, Saturns or Chryslers are your cup of tea, go ahead and take a sip.