Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

GM Money Back Offer Chance to Change Perceptions

Robert Lutz, as General Motors vice chairman.

Bob Lutz is swinging for the fences.

Knowing he has to move quickly to change the perception of GM cars and trucks, the head marketing man is putting his money where his mouth is. General Motors is offering a 60 day money back guarantee on the company line-up of '09 and '10 models.

Here are the details:

* Buyers can return the vehicle after 31 days, but before 4,000 miles.

* GM will refund buyers the purchase price of the vehicle

* The promotion will start Monday the 14th and runs through November.

Is it a smart move? Yes.

Will it improve perceptions and sales at Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac? Probably.

GM needs to do something bold and innovative to get buyers into the showroom.

Once they're in the door, research shows GM has an excellent record at closing the sale.

The problem has been convincing people to give the new models a chance.

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That's where new Chairman Ed Whitacre comes in to play. Whitacre will be featured in some of the commercials, much the way Lee Iacocca was for Chrysler back in the 80's. Back then, Iacocca would say, "If you can find a better car buy it." Now, Whitacre will be telling the public, "May the best car win." With Whitacre delivering that line in his no-bull, Texas twang style, the ads will show GM is serious about winning back customers.

Lutz deserves credit for trying something bold and different. Sure, there have been money back offers in the auto industry in the past, but never on this scale. And Lutz knows he can't just roll out another big rebate or zero percent financing campaign. He needs to create a buzz around Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. This campaign may just do that.

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