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G.m. To Make A 60-day Money-back Offer

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/11/business...ml?ref=business

In an all-out effort to restore confidence in its products, General Motors will offer a 60-day, money-back guarantee on all its vehicles beginning on Monday, according to people involved in the company’s plans.

As part of its marketing campaign, G.M.’s new chairman, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., will be featured as the company’s spokesman in a new television commercial designed to lure consumers back to the company’s showrooms.

The commercials, which feature the slogan “May the Best Car Win,†will make their debut on national television on Sunday. Mr. Whitacre, the former chairman of AT&T, will make a direct appeal to consumers to try G.M. vehicles — and return them after 60 days for a full refund if they aren’t satisfied.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is,†Mr. Whitacre says in the commercial, according to people who have seen the campaign.

The “Satisfaction Guaranteed†program is thought to be the first time that a major automaker has offered a full refund on a vehicle after it has been sold. The program will cover all of G.M.’s core American brands — Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and GMC — and run through November.

The money-back program was conceived by G.M. executives and its board as a dramatic way to promote the quality of the company’s product line after its emergence from bankruptcy in July.

There is no mention in the ad campaign of the $50 billion in taxpayers’ dollars that provided G.M.’s financial bailout this year, or the fact that the federal government owns 60 percent of the company.

Instead, the campaign and money-back promotion is an attempt to focus attention on G.M.’s cars and trucks.

Mr. Whitacre, 67, has said that G.M. must halt its slide in market share in the United States. The company, which once held a 50 percent share of the market in the 1960s, has a 19 percent share so far this year.

The use of Mr. Whitacre as a spokesman is reminiscent of Lee Iacocca’s ads in the 1980s as chairman of Chrysler, when he coined the slogan “If You Can Find a Better Car — Buy It.â€

Those ads helped Chrysler rebound after the company needed federal loan-guarantees to stave off bankruptcy.

Other automotive executives have appeared in ads with less success. In 2006, Chrysler failed to jump-start sales with advertisements featuring DaimlerChrysler’s chief executive, Dieter Zetsche.

I think they'll find they are putting taxpayers money where there mouth is.

Could be a huge gamble, anyone know what the failure rate of GM cars are in the first two months?

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