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Thursday, June 01, 2006 11:37 PM

An Ocean Of Cars

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Following are some personal anecdotes on GM (fresh from today) as well as GM's latest sales numbers (May 2006).

The rear blinker went out for the second time on my wife's Grand-Am. (Please don't ask why we have a GM. It was not my idea). It was nothing serious, just a bulb. But I do not recall this happening to any other car I have had, and certainly not twice in a few months. In addition the car's gas cap warning light has been on for months for no reason that I can see. I did not mention the gas cap problem at the dealership as I was in a hurry.

Unlike a turn signal that does not work a faulty gas cap warning does not pose a safety hazard, so I decided to just let it be. As soon as I left, the seat belt warning light came on and stayed on for 10 minutes even though I had my seat belt on. That was a new problem. An unbuckle rebuckle operation did not help but after about 10 minutes, that warning light just went off on its own accord. The humorous part of this story is what happened inside the showroom.

I usually try and talk to the salesmen whenever I am there just to see how things are going. Every time it is apparent they are giving me a rah rah story so this time I did not even bother asking.

I got there about 5:00PM. There were 6 salesmen in the showroom in addition to the store manager. There were no customers other than me. I have never seen a showroom so dead. One of the salesmen approached me offering his assistance and I said I was just waiting for service. He then immediately turned his back on me threw his threw his arms up in the air and muttered out loud "service" and walked away.

I almost burst out laughing.

On a showroom table there was a box for a random drawing of some sort with a prize of a big flat screen TV for the winner. I read the rules to make sure it was not some stupid time-share thing where you had to be there to win. It was not. It seemed to be a legitimate contest sponsored by GM. You did not have to be present to win. However there were no entry forms. I asked one of the salesmen, sitting down doing nothing where the entry forms for the contest were. "Contest?" he said? "Yes, for this box right here", I replied. (The box was not more than 20 feet from his desk).

With six salesmen and the manager all sitting around doing nothing I thought that if I was in their shoes I would have been so bored I would have loved to help a customer with anything, including figuring out where the entry forms were for the GM drawing.

Anyway, the only reply I received was an "I don't know". The salesman never even left his chair to help me but two of them did keep chattering to each other and I overheard one of the say to another "An ocean of cars and no one to buy them". I had to refrain from laughing a second time.

A few minutes later the manager walked by and I asked him where the entry forms for the contest were. He too replied "What contest?" Once again I said "For this box right here". "Oh he replied, that contest is over". For the third time I about burst out laughing.

Here is this contest box sitting there, no one really knows much of anything about it, or cares to for that matter, even though it was a GM sponsored contest. Finally they decide the contest is over even though there is still a sign promoting it and a bunch of entries in the box that presumably should have been sent to some central location for a drawing that supposedly has already taken place.

One might have thought that after I asked they would have removed the sign and the box, but no. It was still sitting there after they finished replacing the bulb for the rear blinker.

"An ocean of cars and no one to buy them". Gee, I wonder why.

For those interested in the May GM sales numbers here they are:

I suppose GM can brag about some individual success stories but a quick look at the total volume of Hummers to GM's overall picture will tell you just how irrelevant those sales are. For now anyway, those with more money than brains seem more than willing to flaunt "I don't care what gas costs". We will see just long that trend lasts. In the meantime, those are bleak numbers no matter how you slice it.

Mike Shedlock / Mish

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