GM Trying to Reconnect with Spurned Saturn, Pontiac Owners

When General Motors discontinued its Saturn and Pontiac brands in 2009, it lost the faith of many consumers: The majority of owners of those vehicles have since replaced them with non-GM products. According to the Detroit News, two-thirds of Saturn drivers and three-quarters of Pontiac owners who replaced their vehicles have switched to non-GM cars since 2009.

GM is reportedly eager to regain those customers, hoping to get them into Chevrolet dealerships with incentive pricing and free-maintenance offers. From March 2010, GM offered $1000 off the price of new GM vehicles to owners of Saturns and Pontiacs; in January and February 2011, the offer was extended to owners of any GM vehicle.

Figures from J.D. Power & Associates show that customers of discontinued GM brands don’t often buy new GM products. In 2010, GM kept just 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 26 percent of Saturn owners, and only 39 percent of Hummer customers. The News reports that the industry averages a 48-percent brand retention rate.

Some of those customers have left for other, import brands because they felt disappointed by GM’s decision to kill off certain brands; others may not find equivalent vehicles in the Chevrolet, GMC, or Cadillac lineups.

“The truth of the matter is they didn't have many options for people to stay in the GM family,” J.D. Power analyst Steve Witten told the News. “There wasn't really another GM brand similar enough from an image standpoint.”

Witten cites Saturn buyers who gravitated to the brand’s distinct image. J.D. Power reports that over a third of them have since purchased Ford, Honda, or Toyota vehicles.

Ford reportedly fared better when it killed off the Mercury brand, with 46 percent of those customers since buying a new Ford product.

Source: Detroit News

Ryan
With the loss of Pontiac and Saturn, in my opinion, they lost the two brands that had any real style in design. GM seems to be doing okay as of late (which is still a mystery to me) in sales, but their entire fleet (outside of the Camaro) has a lot to be desired in the design realm. Buick has taken the reigns to some extent, but Chevy as a whole has some of the most boring looking vehicles on the road - and Cadillac has taken it to the extreme to the point they are ugly in comparison to the competition.
Darkitec
Like other Pontiac owners, When it comes time to replace my vehicle with something new, I'll be looking at other makes, Dodge, Infinity, Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Audi, or another brand that still makes an affordable RWD, performance sedan. GM's only offering is the CTXV and for what it provides, it's ridiculously over priced. and not very attractive.
pcluvVW
Well unless the offer the redesigned Astra through Buick then I will stay with VW. I left GM when they killed off the Olds Brand. Was tempted to go to Saturn but the Astra was underpowered and that info dash was a joke. Was like an early 90s computer. Glad I stayed with VW.
Rob
When and if I do replace my 2009 G8 GT ( it still has less than 12000 miles) I don't know if I will stay with GM unless they offer the Chevrolet Police Impala to the public. It's stupid for them not to.
Dave
The first paragraph needs a tune-up. The Detroit News remark is this: Nearly two-thirds of Pontiac owners and almost three-fourths of Saturn drivers defected from General Motors Co. to other automakers when they bought new vehicles last year. It doesn't claim that a majority have switched brands; it claims that a majority of owners who replaced their Saturns/Hummers/Pontiacs changed brands.

New Car Research

Find vehicle reviews, photos & pricing

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price

subscribe

new cars

Read Related Articles

TO TOP