GM Woos Consumers With Gas Reimbursement Program

Regional Promotion Emphasizes Vehicles' Fuel Efficiency

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DETROIT ( -- General Motors Corp., which so far this year has stayed away from national incentive advertising, introduces a promotion in Florida and California this week offering partial gas reimbursement though the end of the year.
GM's gas reimbursement promotion rolls out in California and Florida.
GM's gas reimbursement promotion rolls out in California and Florida.

Under the promotion, buyers of select 2005 and 2006 models will get monthly reimbursements via a prepaid card for gasoline that costs more than $1.99 per gallon. The reimbursements will be made through Dec. 31 with no mileage limit.

To qualify, consumers must buy, lease or take delivery of an eligible model between May 25 and July 5, plus enroll in OnStar's free Vehicle Diagnostic Service, which sends monthly e-mails to subscribers about their vehicles and maintenance. Saturn and Saab models are not included in the program.

Test not based on gas prices
The decision to offer the deal in Florida and California wasn't based on gas prices in those two states, a GM spokeswoman said. "We are trying to get people into our vehicles worry-free." The auto giant wanted to test a promotion regionally since it has backed away from national incentive advertising across all its eight vehicle brands, she said.

GM said it will start regional corporate print, radio and online advertising from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, Birmingham, Mich., to launch the program tomorrow. The next day, GM's divisional brands will start regional and local ads on TV, radio, print and online focusing on the gas-price protection program and the fuel efficiency of the models involved.

The agencies for each of GM's vehicle divisions will handle the second wave: Interpublic's Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., for Chevrolet; Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Detroit, Troy, Mich., for Cadillac and Pontiac; McCann for Buick; Modernista for Hummer; and Interpublic's Lowe, New York, for GMC.

A Web site,, goes live tomorrow to help consumers calculate their potential savings based on their vehicle selection.

Eligible models
In California, eligible models include Chevrolet's Tahoe, Suburban, Impala and Monte Carlo; GMC Yukon and Yukon XL; Hummer H2 and H3; Cadillac SRX; Buick Lucerne; and Pontiac Grand Prix. Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, Pontiac Grand Prix, and Buick LaCrosse are eligible in Florida.

Mike Jackson, VP-vehicle brand marketing for GM in North America, said in a prepared statement that the new program leverages some of GM's greatest strengths, including new models with some of the best fuel-economy ratings in their classes. "To top it off, we're now offering consumers in Florida and California protection against rising fuel prices."
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