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GM Boosts, Expands Rebates for Employee Family Members : News

General Motors Co. (GM) extended rebates to more employee family members on purchases of its vehicles and boosted the discounts after the largest U.S. automaker’s first monthly sales decline in more than a year.

The Employee Discount Program now extends to workers’ aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, Mark Reuss, GM’s president of North America, wrote in an e-mail to customers. The average rebate rose by $787 to $3,355 per vehicle that was included in a chart from the Detroit-based company. The changes have been in the works for months, said Jim Cain, a spokesman.

GM’s U.S. sales fell 11 percent in September, missing analysts’ estimates and dropping for the first time since July 2012. That compares with an industrywide 4.2 percent decrease, which snapped a more than two-year streak of gains. Concerns about GM’s September sales are tempered by one of the company’s biggest waves of new models in decades.

“We’re building the best cars and trucks in our history -- and have the awards to prove it,” Reuss wrote in the e-mail to customers. “Now, we’re proud to be able to share even greater savings on these amazing vehicles.”

Eight GM models had the fewest problems reported within their segment in J.D. Power & Associates’ annual initial-quality study that was released in June, the most in the industry. That carried GM to its first-ever leading performance as a corporation in the survey, which began in 1987.

Consumer Reports last month also awarded GM’s new Chevrolet Silverado with the highest rating among all pickups after giving the Chevy Impala the best marks among all sedans in July.

Bigger Discounts
Discounts for employees and their families now are as little as $327 for the 2014 Chevy Spark small car and as much as $7,348 for the 2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV, according to Reuss’s e-mail. GM listed 28 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models that are eligible for the discount program and said the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray is excluded.

The average percentage discount from the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is now 6.8 percent, according to a calculation by Bloomberg News. The rebates are on average 2.2 percent more than what GM offered employees previously.

GM had about 80,000 U.S. employees and 509,000 hourly and salaried retirees and spouses as of the end of last year, according to its annual report.

“The fundamental overarching objective here was to make life easier for our employees and our dealers,” Cain, the company spokesman, said by telephone. “We are responding to direct feedback from them.”

GM was little changed at $35.94 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 25 percent this year, outpacing the 19 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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