Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Low Interest Rate Spurring Local Sales / for GM Dealers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Low Interest Rate Spurring Local Sales / for GM Dealers

Article excerpt

General Motors Corp. announced Thursday a sweeping new incentive plan aimed at spurring sales of overstocked 1986 cars by offering buyers loan interest rates as low as 2.9 percent - and only hours after the announcement, Oklahoma City dealers report it is doing what it is designed to do, with the best yet to come.

"I expect we'll do about double what we normally do," said Mark Johnson, a sales representative for Hudiberg Chevrolet. "We've already sold 10 cars this morning."

The program features 2.9 percent financing for 36-month loans on all GM's 1986 cars and most of its light trucks. Forty-eight-month loans from General Motors Acceptance Corp., GM's finance arm, carry 4.8 percent interest rates.

Car buyers also may opt for rebates ranging from $300 to $1,500 instead of cut-rate interest. The program expires Oct. 8.

Other dealers contacted by The Journal Record in the Oklahoma City area reported increased showroom traffic. That is good news to a market - particularly in domestic sales - that has seen better times.

Domestic auto sales figures in the area were down in year-to-year comparisons in July 17.9 percent to 2,134 from 2,600 in 1985.

For the same month, GM divisions reported sales of 1,053, compared to 1,390 in 1985, a 24.2 percent decline.

GM divisions are: Buick Motor Division; Chevrolet Motor Division, Pontiac Motor Division; Oldsmobile Division; and Cadillac Motor Car Division.

""This is terrific. We sold 11 cars by 10:30 a.m.,'' said John Rummell, general manager at Don Massey Cadillac in Plymouth, one of Michigan's largest dealers.

""This place always has traffic, but it's more intensified now. This is the biggest opportunity we've had in a long time. We have over 1,000 cars in stock and I thought we had too many, but we'll sell them all,'' he said.

GM said it has over a million cars and light trucks waiting for buyers at dealerships, and new incentives were expected. But their depth surprised some analysts.

""Well, it looks like GM is thrashing about like a wounded elephant,'' said David Healy, an automotive analyst with Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. in New York.

""I think it was very clear because of rising inventories of unsold cars that they were going to have to sweeten their incentive programs, but frankly the 2. …

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