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GM Vehicle." rel="bookmark">Am I A Masochist? Another Try At Buying A GM Vehicle.

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 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 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.

Posted in: economy, Finance, GM, Politics


  1. HS

    So you bought a car that has had sev­eral major repairs all before the age of 65,000 miles? And you’re going back to that brand? You’re not a masochist. You are a moron. The prob­lem with Amer­i­can car man­u­fac­tur­ers isn’t that they don’t know how to cre­ate brand loy­alty — which by the way they don’t. The prob­lem with Amer­i­can car man­u­fac­tur­ers is they don’t know how to cre­ate cars that LAST. I have an ’04 Mazda and an ’05 Dodge. Take a guess at which one has all the prob­lems. GM is los­ing $200,000,000 a day! They have them­selves to blame for that.

  2. sms

    When my Acura blew up its trans­mis­sion at 110,000 due to a sys­temic prob­lem in that years model, the dealer replaced the trans­mis­sion at no cost even though it was out of war­ranty.
    When it came to choos­ing a new car it was an easy dec­sion to stick with a com­pany that stands behind its product

  3. RE

    Yep…you’re a moron. GM vehi­cles are garbage, and to think you’d buy another one after the drive train fell out of your cur­rent rig.

  4. Gerri S.

    You sound as if you expect the engines to fall out of cars after 5 years. Not a sound invest­ment. Maybe that’s why Cadal­lic like leases so much (the cus­tomers tend not to keep the cars that long). All I know is that the engine never fell out of my Honda accord (which I had for 15 yrs) or my BMW which is now 15 yrs old.

    And your wife’s last name is not a sign of a permna­nent rela­tion­ship. If you have only joint bank accounts take that as a good sign. It took me 13 years to give up my own bank account (now mar­ried for 23 yrs), but I still haven’t changed my name.

  5. David Nassief

    You have clearly expe­ri­enced the unnec­es­sary frus­tra­tion that so many peo­ple want­ing to buy a new car go through. I have been in the auto­mo­bile busi­ness for over 22 years and I know that this frus­tra­tion is not only very real, but it is also avoid­able. Many deal­er­ships use not-so-honest tech­niques to lure buy­ers into the show­room and then heavy-handed tech­niques to make the sale. If you can do your research on the vehi­cle you are inter­ested in first (look at manufacturer’s web­site and other on-line buy­ing guides) and then estab­lish a firm buy­ing bud­get for your­self, you will not only feel more con­fi­dent going into the deal­er­ship, but you will also avoid being pres­sured into a sale or an impulse buy. If more con­sumers took the time to edu­cate them­selves, the deal­er­ships that use these tac­tics just might have to change their ways!

  6. KH

    Bless you Mark Sun­shine for try­ing to save GM. That is a land­mark com­pany in our nation. It’s a shame that so many of us who would pre­fer to buy their prod­ucts don’t think that is the right deci­sion for our fam­i­lies. Hav­ing owned 3 GM vehi­cles in the past, I can relate to the dif­fi­culty you have expe­ri­enced with your GM vehi­cle. When I recently pur­chased a new vehi­cle, I only needed to look at the cars I owned at the time — a Nis­san with over 200,000 miles on it and a Toy­ota with almost 100,000 miles on it. Nei­ther vehi­cle has required much more than oil changes and new tires. Need­less to say, my new pur­chase was one of those prod­ucts as opposed to tak­ing a chance on a GM prod­uct. I wish that wasn’t the case.

  7. Cake or Death

    Love the “edu­cated” opinions.

    I’ve owned Amer­i­can built and for­eign built (both Japan­ese and German).

    I’ve had bet­ter expe­ri­ences, by far, with the Amer­i­can vehi­cles I’ve owned. The Japan­ese vehi­cles were garbage.

    The qual­ity gap has nar­rowed dra­mat­i­cally. But, some folks hold long grudges. And that’s their right certainly.

    How­ever, the coun­try pays a dear price for this for­eign brand wanderlust.

    Save me the “they deserve it” rants. It doesn’t mat­ter if you’re right or wrong about that. What is fact — is that our own cit­i­zens are killing an Amer­i­can indus­try with every for­eign purchase.

    Our coun­try will pay a severe price when we lose Detroit’s iron. Maybe nobody cares. But I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion they will when they feel the shockwaves…

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