Cutting brands trimmed GM loyalty

June 22, 2011 at 3:17 PM
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DETROIT, June 22 (UPI) -- U.S. owners of Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac brand General Motors cars have been courted and even bribed, but many are moving away from GM anyway, data shows.

As GM abandoned the brands during its 2009 bankruptcy, the company tried $1,000 discounts to consumers staying with GM, free oil changes and invitations to meet-and-greet events at dealerships to keep the Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac owners loyal, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.

Many defected, anyway. About 64 percent of Pontiac owners who bought new cars in 2010 went to other car companies, while 74 percent of Saturn and 61 percent of Hummer owners defected, industry researchers at J.D. Powers & Associates said.

By contrast, the average defection rate for Chevrolet is 45 percent.

What was once a diverse line-up turned out to be limited, as GM did not have similar cars to offer Saturn owners, who have turned mostly to Japanese brands or Hummer, said J.D. Powers analyst Steve Witten.

"Now, there are holes," in the line-up, Witten said.

Some owners of the three abandoned brands may also be angry at GM for cutting off production, which undercut the value of their vehicles at re-sale or trade-in time.

The company knew in advance "by cutting these brands they were going to lose market share and they have," said industry analyst Jesse Toprak at

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