General Motors Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Jack R. Nerad | March 24, 2020

In the immediate wake of the economic upheaval accompanying the coronavirus pandemic, General Motors is taking a multi-pronged approach to help its customers buy vehicles, while at the same time trying to give comfort to those who just purchased one.

GM Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Just one month ago, the auto industry was enjoying one of its best Februarys in recent history. Now, a few short weeks later, the travel and business restrictions, plant closures, health-related lockdowns, and plunging stock market have thrown automakers into an unexpectedly difficult situation.

With both factories and some dealerships closed, it will be hard for car companies to regain the momentum built during the past several years. But General Motors has assembled a variety of initiatives in a bid do just that.

General Motors Customer Relief Programs - Find the best deals!

Sudden business closures have meant sudden, unexpected layoffs of millions of American workers. Those lost paychecks might make it difficult for recent car buyers to make their monthly payments on time, so General Motors has instituted a program that offers delayed payment options to customers in the U.S. who are impacted by COVID-19.

Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC customers who financed an auto loan or secured a lease through GM Financial are encouraged to reach out to the company to discuss their options. For qualified customers, GM is offering flexible payment arrangements or payment extensions, thus adding its name to the list of auto manufacturers offering Coronavirus Car Payment Plans. GM Financial can be reached through the websites of the individual GM brands:


General Motors customers who financed or leased their vehicles with a lender other than GM Financial are urged to contact that institution directly should they need payment relief.

GM is also making OnStar Crisis Assist services available for all its connected vehicle owners. The services include the availability of OnStar Advisors and complimentary in-vehicle data for all of Wi-Fi-equipped vehicles.

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General Motors New Car Incentives - Find the best deals!

General Motors is offering generous incentives on a number of models from its Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC brands that are reminiscent of those available during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

The company is offering interest-free financing on a variety of models for 84 months, the longest zero-percent financing offer on record from a major carmaker. Beyond that, well-qualified buyers are able to defer the first payment for up to 120 days on most 2019 models still in stock and on many popular 2020 models.

To obtain these benefits the vehicle must be financed through GM Financial. Among models qualifying for the 120-day payment deferral are Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Trax, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Buick Encore, Buick Envision, and GMC Sierra. Additional vehicles that offer the 120-day payment deferral and more incentives are available regionally. Check the brands' websites to see what is available in your ZIP code.

If you are unable to visit a dealer in person, GM's "Shop. Click. Drive." program enables customers to browse a dealership's inventory on desktop or mobile devices, choose a vehicle, determine trade-in value, and set up the complete purchase all without ever entering a showroom.

General Motors Factory Closures - Find the best deals!

According to a senior General Motors spokesperson, the company has begun a systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America that is expected to last at least through the month of March. GM said the production halt is to "due to market conditions, to deep clean facilities and continue to protect people." As March 30 approaches, production status will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

General Motors currently employs about 50,000 hourly workers, and it is expected the bulk of them will be idled until the manufacturing plants reopen. GM has not announced product suspensions in its factories outside North America. It currently operates or co-operates plants in Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

The GM spokesperson told us the company's parts distribution operations are continuing to function. That means that GM is delivering service and repair parts to its dealers and customers, and service operations remain open for business at most GM brand dealerships nationwide.

General Motors Economic Outlook & Sales Forecast - Find the best deals!

The auto industry's sales results are certain to suffer from the rapid onset of the coronavirus crisis. It seems the only factor that can mitigate the negative effects is an equally rapid resolution of the crisis with workers returning to their jobs well before summer arrives. In the face of such an uncertain future, GM spokespeople declined to comment on the effects the crisis would have on U.S. vehicle sales and on GM's sales for 2020.

"This is a very fluid situation," a GM spokesperson told J.D. Power. "We don't have any estimates or forecasts to provide right now."

Other pundits are less reticent to offer their predictions for the future. The auto industry enjoyed a strong February in the midst of what was expected to be an upbeat year. Then the COVID-19 pandemic descended.

The most recent sales predictions for 2020 are often accompanied by stipulations regarding the length and depth of the health and economic crisis. An extremely negative look based on prolonged health issues and economic malaise place 2020 sales in the U.S. at 11.2 million vehicles. More optimistic forecasts that include earlier resolutions of the health and economic issues peg 2020 sales at 13.2 to 16.4 million. Some experts say the most likely outcome is a sales year of somewhere between 13.2 and 15.3 million units.

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