DETROIT – What would happen if you turned more than 20 undercover film and surveillance professionals with eight cameras loose to show the potential drawbacks of buying a used vehicle that is not manufacturer certified? That’s what GM’s Certified Used Vehicles team did, and the results were not at all surprising.

GM Certified Used Vehicles has launched, an interactive Web site developed to educate and entertain consumers by depicting the risks associated with purchasing a vehicle from a private seller. In contrast, the site also informs consumers in an engaging manner about the guarantees and peace of mind assurances that shoppers receive when purchasing a manufacturer certified used vehicle.

“There’s great confusion among consumers about what constitutes a certified used vehicle,” said Mark Mathews, director, GM Used-Vehicle Activities. “Manufacturer certified vehicles offer new-vehicle-like benefits and financing options where others do not; private sellers being the most risky option.”

The GM Certified Used Vehicle’s manufacturer-certified program offers such assurances as:

  • 5-Year/100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty.

  • 3-Month/3,000-Mile New Vehicle Warranty Extension.

  • 24/7 Roadside Assistance & Courtesy Transportation.

  • CARFAX Vehicle History Report.

  • 3-Day/150-Mile “No Questions Asked” Customer Satisfaction Guarantee.

  • GMAC New Car-like Financing.

  • Extensive 117-point inspection by factory-trained technicians.

    These assurances are not offered through dealer-certified programs, independent used-vehicle dealers, or private parties as illustrated in the video vignettes.

    The GM Certified Used Vehicles Ambush site displays surveillance style footage of the ambushes as they happen. Actual used-vehicle sellers are intercepted by an MTV-Punk’d-styled actor who asks the questions that private party used-vehicle sellers often don’t want to hear and interjects humor with off-the-wall requests. During one “Ambush,” the actor brings out a big red house phone and asks if he can install it in the seller’s home to call for roadside assistance any time, day or night.

    All Ambush participants were fully informed of the intended use of the footage and were compensated for their time.

    More than 400 hours of video footage was shot over a four-day period during March 2008 in the Las Vegas area, with almost 20 people being “Ambushed.” The Used Car Ambush site will launch with six vignettes that are arranged in an interactive way to replicate the perspective from inside a surveillance van, providing the user with the ability to control the camera motion and move between scenes. Additional vignettes will be released throughout the remainder of the year.