GM to offer worker discounts to consumers Incentive to cut bloated inventories of unsold cars and trucks Updated: 12:23 p.m. ET June 1, 2005 DETROIT - General Motors Corp., suffering from a protracted slump in its U.S. auto sales, will announce Wednesday that the same vehicle discounts available to its employees will now be offered to the general public, dealers said. advertisement Click Here! The new consumer incentives program is aimed at trimming bloated inventories of unsold cars and trucks and reversing the decline in sales and market share that prompted the world’s largest automaker to report a massive $1.1 billion loss in the first quarter. GM dealers based in Michigan said the employees discounts would be offered in addition to other incentives that include cash rebates, giving consumers thousands of dollars off the sticker price of virtually every 2005 model car and truck that GM sells. GM and rival Detroit-based automaker Ford Motor Co. are both expected to report declines in May sales later Wednesday. Ford has said it too was raising cash incentives on some of its slower-selling vehicles. But GM has led Detroit’s profit-gouging price war since it launched interest-free loan deals to draw customers into showrooms after Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. A GM spokeswoman declined to comment on the incentives. The GM dealers said the employee discounts would be offered to customers nationwide and are expected to deliver a big boost in the automaker’s June sales. “I think this is going to be a record-setting month,” said Brian Gerts, a sales manager at Bill Crispin Chevrolet in Saline, Michigan. “I’m definitely stoked about this. I think it’s going to be great,” he added. Many dealers outside of Michigan said they had not yet been informed of the incentives program. Both GM and Ford have relied on sales of mid- and full-sized sport utility vehicles for much of their auto-related profits since the late 1990s. But analysts say big SUVs, especially from the aging and fuel-thirsty lineups offered by GM and Ford, have become less attractive as U.S. gasoline prices hover near record highs. In markets like Michigan, dealers say up to 75 percent of their customers already benefit from the discount deals that GM has traditionally offered to its employees, their relatives and the employees of auto parts supplier companies that do business with GM. Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.