Amid the ongoing investigation into the ignition switch defect affecting more than 1 million GM cars, the company says it's not going buy back the cars in question from worried or angry customers. They will, however, offer a rebate towards one of their new, un-recalled models.

This is according to a memo posted on the NHTSA's website today, following the news yesterday GM faces a criminal investigation from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the problem linked to 13 deaths and involving the Chevy Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other cars made between 2003 and 2007. The memo states:

Please explain that we understand their concerns. General Motors is not offering repurchase as a remedy. To assist dealers in helping customers who are involved in this recall that request assistance, we are announcing a special cash allowance in the amount $500 available when these customers purchase or lease a new 2013/ 2014 / 2015 model year Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac. This special cash allowance must be passed on to the eligible customer at the time of the transaction and is in addition to other national and regional offers. The special cash allowance is not transferable and is intended to assist those customers who are unhappy and may want to trade out of their vehicle or buy a new GM product. Advise customers that at this time, the special cash allowance is effective through April 30. GM will not market or solicit owners using this allowance. We ask that Dealers do not market to or solicit these customers either. This special cash allowance is not a sales tool; it is to be used to help customers in need of assistance. The allowance is effective today.

According to The Detroit News, GM issued the memo to dealers on March 5 and a company spokesman says it's "intended to assist those customers who are unhappy and may want to trade out of their vehicle or buy a new GM product." The deal is only good until April 30, though.


Detroit News also reported GM bought back at least 13 Cobalts in 2005 and 2006 following complaints from owners, presumably about stalling problems.

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