What will happen to my Pontiac or Saturn?
If you own a Pontiac or Saturn, you shouldn't lose any sleep over what will happen to your car when the brands go away.
You'll still be able to find parts.
Your warranty will still be honored.
You'll see a dip in resale value because the last new models are being sold at such a huge discount.
But once the lots have been cleared, your Pontiac or Saturn won't lose value any faster than if the brands hadn't been discontinued.
Here are answers to six frequently asked questions from Pontiac and Saturn owners:
Question 1. When will General Motors close the brands?
The automaker has already stopped building new Saturns and Pontiacs.
Dealers have until the fall of 2010 to sell any new vehicles still on their lots and shut down.
Question 2. Will GM still make parts for my Pontiac or Saturn and for how long?
GM has a contractual obligation to supply parts until the last Pontiac or Saturn GM warranty expires. However, in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, it stated that it would continue to supply replacement parts well into the future.
Pontiacs and Saturns share many of their components and parts with other GM models, increasing the likelihood you will find a GM replacement part when needed.
There are also hundreds of other companies that make replacement parts for both brands and will continue to do so as long as it's profitable.
Question 3. What happens to my warranty when that happens?
GM will continue to honor all Pontiac and Saturn warranties.
The final 2009 and 2010 models will be protected by GM's three-year or 36,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty and its five-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Question 4. Where will I get my warranty work done after my Pontiac or Saturn dealer closes?
The majority of Pontiac dealerships sold other GM brands as well and will continue to do so. If that's the case, they'll continue servicing Pontiacs, even after the signs come down.
The situation is quite different at Saturn, where most dealerships sold Saturns and nothing else. They are going to be closing.
But the service departments of other GM brands will be equipped and qualified to work on Saturns.
If your dealership closes, or is only selling non-GM brands after Pontiac and Saturn go away, owners can call the customer care line at 800-762-2737.
They will be directed to the nearest Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac or GMC service department with the appropriate personnel and equipment to service Pontiac and Saturn.
All GM service departments are connected to the same database, which has the service and warranty records for all GM vehicles.
Question 5. What if I there's a dispute over what's covered by my warranty or the quality of the repairs?
GM will handle service complaints just as it does now. You can start the appeals process by calling the 800 customer care line.
Question 6. What will happen to the car's trade-in or resale value?
Anytime a brand offers big discounts on its new cars and trucks, it drives down the resale value of its used vehicles.
As reported by Edmunds.com, one of the best sources of information on car and truck prices, manufacturer incentives and other discounts have new Pontiacs retailing from 14% to 24% off of the manufacturer's suggested price, depending on the model.
Likewise Saturns are retailing for somewhere between 16% and 28% off of the sticker price.
That will lower the resale value of Pontiacs and Saturns. If you bought your car just before the brands demise was announced and the big discounts began, you'll take the biggest hit.
But once the last new models are sold, resale values should rebound a bit, and cars purchased at the deeply discounted clearance prices probably won't depreciate any faster than they would have.
In other words, a three- or four-year-old Pontiac or Saturn should be worth about the same as it would have had the brands not been discontinued.
Why do we think that?
We asked AutoTrader.com to look at what happened to Oldsmobile resale values after GM closed that brand in 2004.
It compared Oldsmobile prices from 2005 to 2009 against those of similar vehicles sold by other GM brands. The Oldsmobile Alero, for example, was measured against the Pontiac Grand Am, which was mechanically and structurally the same.
For the first four years, Alero's average rate of depreciation exceeded Grand Am's by less than one percentage point.
A new Alero purchased for $12,306 in June 2005 depreciated an average 43.1%. A new Grand Am that cost $13,491 depreciated an average 42.3%.