Unexpectedly, my wife and I are back in the market for another new car and we are trying again to buy a GM vehicle. Unfortunately, just like last month we can’t seem to pull it off. We want to buy a Cadillac CTS but we can’t get a dealer to honor their advertised price. Sometimes the car that is advertised doesn’t exist and sometimes it is the fine print in the GM promotional pricing that trips us up. After visiting a few dealers we got frustrated and e-mailed GM. From their response, we are convinced that GM is run by morons who don’t have a clue how to sell cars.
According to Dictionary.com the definition of a masochist is someone who derives pleasure from being humiliated or mistreated, either by another or by oneself and someone who has a willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences. My wife, Christy, and I must be masochists because we are still trying to be loyal to GM.
The reason that we need a new car is because my car, a 2003 Cadillac De Ville, is in trouble. The car has about 65,000 miles on it but recently had some mechanical problems including a broken motor mount that caused the engine and transmission to drop out of the vehicle. Fortunately, the drive train didn’t fall out of the bottom of the car while we were moving but even so it seems like a good time to trade it in.
My wife saw opportunity when the bottom fell out of the De Ville. She immediately demanded that we get a new car and used the usual guilt trip of “we drive our kids in the car…what if the kids were in it when the engine fell out”. You see, she hates the De Ville and says that people make fun of me when I drive it. Christy says the De Ville is an “old man’s car” and I am not in the De Ville target demographic. After all, I am not in my 80s yet, I don’t need to travel with an oxygen bottle (for shortness of breath) and I have a strong pulse. My kids hate to ride in the De Ville and their friends ask them if I am their “Grandpa” whenever they see me drop them off out.
I got the De Ville because it was cheap, really cheap, and I can’t pass up a bargain. When I bought the car it had about 4,500 miles on it and I paid about 50% of original list price. I bought a 65,000 mile extended warranty that expired about a month ago (just before the engine and transmission fell out). The plan was to sell the car when the warranty expired but I got over confident because it still seemed to be running well and I didn’t follow the plan. I was fooled about how well the car was doing because I never knew the De Ville’s maintenance cost. After all, it was always under warranty, at least until this month. Since I have owned the car it has had several broken motor mounts and other drive train problems. Once, both the electric windows and the air conditioner broke at the same time which isn’t good in Florida which is where I live (especially in the summer). But, because of the warranty I never knew the cost of those repairs. Now that I am responsible for paying for the De Ville’s maintenance, I think I will need to get a second job to keep the car on the road.
I figure that despite the De Ville’s problems we can still buy another GM car. My plan is to get another extended warranty that will take us to 100,000 miles so the service cost won’t be important. My wife wants to buy a foreign car but she is willing to consider the CTS.
Christy and I started looking in the local paper for CTS ads. The local Florida paper had great prices for a bunch of CTS’ that were being offered by a Belle Grade Cadillac dealership. When we called the dealer they claimed that the ad wasn’t authorized (because they told us newspapers always run unauthorized ads complete with VIN numbers) and that the cars didn’t exist. Instead of the advertised cars they told us about others that they were selling for about $5,000 more than the advertised price. The Belle Grade dealership obviously thinks that their target customers are idiots.
Another dealership advertised a CTS for $28,000. We thought it was a great price but when we got to the dealership we learned that the price was a “special GM promotional” price that is only available for buyers that currently lease a car (any car) through a lease that will expire before September, 2009. The dealership told us that GM was trying to show car buyers that leases aren’t a good way of financing by giving a discount to people who have expiring leases. Showing up as a cash buyer who owns our current car the price for a new CTS is $4,000 higher than the promotional price. Christy pointed out that we have a leased GMAC Yukon so that should qualify us as one of the target group but it didn’t work because our lease isn’t up until 2010.
We couldn’t make sense of what the GM dealer was telling us so Christy decided it was time to contact GM directly. Surely, GM couldn’t possibly be telling cash buyers that owned their cars and were loyal GM customers that the promotional pricing didn’t apply. GM’s response to Christy’s inquiry is below.
Dear Ms. McElhaney,
Thank you for contacting Cadillac and for your interest in the 2009 Cadillac CTS! We appreciate the time you have taken to write us. We tried to contact you by phone but we were unsuccessful.
We offer many types of incentives for the variety of customers we have. We can understand the frustration you may be experiencing due to not being eligible for some incentives that we are offering. Currently, due to the economic state of our country and financial institutions, we are offering a Lessee Bonus cash for those customers who are currently leasing to assist them in getting into a purchase. Leases are currently not being offered at the attractive rates that they once were; therefore, this bonus cash will help dampen the difference between a purchase and a lease. One of the good things about incentives is that they are not permanent. For example, most of our incentives are scheduled to end on March 2nd which means new incentive programs will be available after that date. We suggest contacting us back after the 2nd of March to see what the new incentive program(s) will be. If you have any further feedback or questions, please also do not hesitate to reply back to this e-mail with your inquiries.
New GM vehicles now come standard with a 5 year/100,000 mile Powertrain warranty. By offering the fully transferable 5 year/100,000 mile limited Powertrain warranty on all Cadillac cars and SUVs you receive the best coverage in America on your new purchase.
If you would like to locate alternate dealers in your area, an easy way to do so is by using the Locate a Dealer web tool on http://www.cadillac.com. We suggest scheduling a test drive as well. There is nothing like a test drive to help you make that ultimate decision! Have a great day!
At Cadillac, we strive to provide exceptional customer service. If we can be of any further assistance please email us or call 1–800-333‑4223, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am to 9pm Eastern Time, and Saturday 9am to 6pm. Thank you for contacting Cadillac!
The Cadillac Marketing Team
OK. I am sure that everyone noticed that my wife still uses her maiden name (despite us being married for 21 years and having 3 kids). I am hoping that soon she will think that the relationship is permanent enough for her to change to her married name.
Back to the car dilemma. Who is the Cadillac Marketing Team kidding? The incentive, which is $4,000, only applies to people who lease? Are they saying that only customers who currently lease are affected by the current economic conditions? Cash buyers who are loyal customers don’t count for the incentives that someone who leased a Toyota should get?
If GM doesn’t take care of loyal customers who are they going to try to sell cars to? Most businesses think that loyal repeat customers are the type of customers that are the most valuable and shouldn’t be treated casually. The e-mail has convinced me that Cadillac is run by propeller heads who have no idea how to sell cars or promote brand loyalty.
While incentives don’t last forever neither does my patience with GM. Of course since Christy and I seem to be masochists we will probably be back anyway. But I don’t think that there are enough people like me and my wife for GM to survive.