GM has, at last count, recalled 15.4 million units globally this year, 13.6 million of them in the U.S. alone. By the time you read this, this number is likely outdated, news of fresh GM recalls have become as routine as the morning sunrise. This hasn’t impacted GM’s sales in an appreciative way. Some dealers even try turning GM’s misery into increased sales, offering allegedly extra trade-in allowances to owners of recalled cars, thereby fostering the impression that lemons are highly valued at a Chevy dealer.
Subscribing to the axiom that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and that a car dealer should know no shame, Davison, Michigan Hank Graff Chevrolet runs this TV ad:
“Geez, recalls can be such a negative thing. But now at Hank Graff Chevrolet in Davison … Hi, I am Chris Graff, and we pay a thousand dollars extra for your recalled vehicle. Let your problem be our problem. If you’ve got a vehicle that’s been recalled, we want it, and we give you an extra thousand dollars for it, here at Hank Graff Chevrolet on M15 in Davison. It doesn’t matter if your recalled vehicle is a GM, a Ford, a Chrysler – even a Toyota! Hank Graff Chevrolet will pay you a thousand dollars extra for your recalled vehicle. Thank you for 100 years of business.”
GM mandates from its dealers to use the services of Internet reputation management companies, themselves an often rather shady species of the Internet biosphere. Ads like these do nothing to increase the reputation, neither of the dealer. Nor of GM.
In the first four months of this year, GM’s U.S. sales dropped 2.3 percent year-on-year, while the market as a whole saw a light 1.4 percent increase. Sales appear to be relatively unaffected by the reputation loss. GM’s decreasing U.S. sales are mostly a victim of the underwhelming success of GM’s new light trucks. And who knows, if more dealers subscribe to Hank Graff’s strategies, maybe the negative ads will result in positive sales.
Hat tip to Seung Min Mel Yu for the pointer, and for making the video available. It has been removed from Hank Graff Chevrolet’s website. If you can’t see the Youtube video above, then you either live in China, or the video has been removed again.