Paul Edwards, Senior Vice President of Marketing for General Motors, announced Monday morning that the company would begin accepting customer deposits on their new line of ventilators from both Chevrolet and Cadillac.
In a press conference in Detroit, Mr. Edwards explained: “In light of President Trump’s recent Defense Production Act order for GM to continue doing what we were already doing, which is manufacturing ventilators for the COVID-19 crisis, we’re proud to announce we can begin accepting customer deposits by the end of this week at over 500 participating Chevrolet and Cadillac dealerships in Washington, California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida.”
Mr. Edwards noted that the program will be expanded to other markets in the coming months as the demand increases. He specifically noted that GM’s home state of Michigan – facing its own surge of COVID cases — would not be among the first wave of recipients because their state’s lady governor (Whatshername - D) had hurt President Trump’s feelings.
He further explained that orders will be based on a first-come, first-served system and that a 20% (of MSRP) non-refundable deposit will be required to guarantee delivery by late April. Additional dealer fees and markups may be added based on local market demand and are beyond the scope of GM’s official corporate pricing policy.
Pricing is expected to begin at $29,900 for the Chevy Ventana and $43,290 for the Cadillac CVD19 (or $57,300 for the high-performance CVD19-V) . The latter has generated the most excitement and optimism within the GM ranks, and will include such features as extra chrome trim and 4” casters with low-resistance bearings for an estimated 7.5% reduction in Code Blue response times.
“This baby is going to scream,” Edwards added.
“Pardon the cliché, but we really believe the CVD19 will be the proverbial ‘Cadillac of Ventilators’,” Edwards continued, “Meaning there will probably be a bunch of German and Japanese versions that are both better and cheaper – but we’re still proud of our work as runner-up.”
Despite no direct presidential order, several other automotive companies have announced plans to follow suit.
Nissan promises to introduce a high-performance version called the Ventil8-R by late summer, just in time for excess capacity to be sold off to medical equipment rental firms. Hyundai has announced its intention to sit on the sidelines for the remainder of 2020, then reverse engineer the Cadillac model for a 20% lower price – potentially under the Genesis sub-brand, which has an older average customer base that Hyundai has labeled “High Risk, High Demand.”
In response to reporters’ question about how the supplies would be rationed to areas of greatest need, Mr. Edwards explained that GM’s stakeholders require a certain return on investment. However, he also reassured the public by emphasizing GM’s extensive dealer network, quipping “If you have COVID, just grab a chair and go wait in line!”
By early Monday afternoon, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk replied via a series of tweets that “Our ventilators will have twice the performance for the price” [compared to the GM models]. “Tesla’s patented Pulmonary Emissions Directional Occlusion system will have everyone agree that I’m the biggest PEDO™ guy in the world,” he continued.
Tesla will begin accepting fully refundable $12 deposits beginning tomorrow.
“Our goal,” tweeted Musk, “is to get as many people signed up as possible so we can flex on GM. Even if you never considered COVID-19 before, these ventilators could very well be in your future.”