DETROIT — Last week, General Motors Corp. informed dealers of new lease incentives for 2009 Cadillacs and the Saab 9-7X SUV through its GMAC financing arm. The new incentives, set to last through Sept. 30, made the Cadillac lineup and one Saab model GM's only vehicles in the U.S. with discounted leases from its captive lender.
GM, which plans to continue scaling back on its leasing incentives, singled out Cadillac and Saab as a competitive move because leasing tends to be popular in luxury segments. In August, 40 percent of the vehicle transactions for luxury brands were leases, according to J.D. Power and Associates. For Cadillac, 11.5 percent of transactions were leases last month.
The new Cadillac deals came as a pleasant surprise to Crestview Cadillac in Rochester, which sent an e-mail to as many as 4,000 customers on Sept. 4 — less than a day before GM distributed its new Cadillac leasing incentives — saying GMAC would stop leasing vehicles on Sept. 5 at 6 p.m.
Not true, according to the lender. Although GM is cutting back on lease incentives through GMAC, the manufacturer's financing arm, which is 51 percent owned by Cerberus Capital Management, is not done leasing, said GMAC spokesman Mike Stoller.
"Auto financing and leasing continue to be part of what we do at GMAC," Stoller said. "There are no plans to eliminate that."