GM Campaign Aims to Soothe Car-Loan Fears

Ads Tout Web-Based System to Obtain Financing

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- General Motors Corp., seeking to reassure consumers that they will be able to get a car loan if they want one, is breaking a new campaign tomorrow themed "Financing That Fits."

The automaker said it wants to break through the "bad-news clutter" about tighter new-vehicle financing with an integrated effort from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, Birmingham, Mich., with buys on radio, newspaper, online and in minority-owned media. The push runs through Nov. 3.

Hitting the info highway
According to the campaign, GM dealers enter a prospect's auto-loan application on a free, web-based system called "Route One" with access to hundreds of participating lenders, including GMAC Financial Services. The customer then chooses the best financing options from the result.

The financing service isn't an enhancement of current incentive offers, but the campaign will feature additional messaging on already available cash-back deals of up to $6,000 on 2008 models left in stock. It will dovetail with two current ad programs, "Truck Month" and the "Fall Drive."

GMAC retrenches
The move comes just days after GMAC announced it was starting a more conservative approach to financing domestic new-vehicle loans, including limiting purchases to buyers with a credit score of 700 or above. GMAC said it will restrict contracts with higher advance rates and longer terms, citing the lack of stability in the global capital and credit markets.

GM sold a 51% stake in its financing arm to Cerberus Capital Management in 2006.

The U.S. auto industry is suffering from the worst sales year since the early 1990s. GM said its U.S. new-vehicle sales for the first nine months of 2008 slipped by 18% to 2.969 million units.
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