2013 Malibu - unlike its Eco cousin, the Malibu is one of several Chevy models to get strong reviews (Photo : General Motors)
MSN Money is extremely effusive about Chevrolet's money-back guarantee program. Financial writer and frequent MSN Money contributor Jonathan Berr calls the GM badge's buyer incentive "a stroke of genius".
Like Us on Facebook
Beginning July 10, buyers can bring their Chevys back to the dealer within 60 days of purchase for a full refund, provided the car has less than 4,000 miles on it and no damage. The program expires September 10.
"Research has shown customers respond positively to the confidence companies demonstrate with programs like this and appreciate the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have the option of being able to return their vehicle," Chris Perry, Chevy's global vice president of marketing, said in the statement announcing the program.
"Chevy Confidence adds another element of convenience to the retail experience that is sure to attract consumers to our showrooms, and we know through first-hand experience that once they get behind the wheel of one of our new products, they are more likely to take one home," said Steve Hurley, co-chair of the Chevrolet Dealer Council.
He has reason to be confident. Chevrolet had a record-breaking year in 2011, selling 4.76 million vehicles around the world. The first quarter of 2012 was another record, with 1.18 million vehicles sold. Combine this with largely positive reviews of its new models (Chevy Malibu Eco aside), and it's a good time for the brand.
However, optimism should be cautious. While June sales increased 16 percent over June of last year, Berr notes that Chevy's increase for the first half of 2012 was only six percent over the same period last year. This is below trends for GM and the car industry in general.
Shares of GM, which have barely moved this year, traded down more than 1.5% in early afternoon trading because of investors' concerns that a slowing economy will affect vehicle sales," Berr writes. "The average 52-week price target on the stock is $32.40, more than 60% above where it recently traded."
But it's not just about business. Berr writes, "Buying a car is a stressful experience. If a company can make the process a little easier on consumers, maybe those who are hesitant to incur thousands of dollars in debt -- on an asset that depreciates as soon as it leaves the dealer lot -- will be more inclined to make a purchase."