GM’s Financials

When you buy a new car, one of your options for financing is through the automaker’s financial arm.

This is something known as Verticial Integration: the practice of not only controlling the manufacturing of a product but also (possibly) the distribution of the product and also the financial aspect of owning the product – especially a big-ticket item like a car.

After all, why let the independent banks rake in all those sweet sweet interest loan payments when someone like General Motors can spin up it’s own financial institution and lend money directly to its customers? That’s exactly what GM (and other manufacturers) do to find ways to increase their own profit margins.

So today’s trio of ads are not specifically about cars, but about some of the financial services offered by General Motors. Still, I think it’s worth taking the time to check up on these old sites as they still fall under the umbrella of their car-making corporate philosophy.

We’ll take these three ads in alphabetical order by their websites. That also happens to be in chronological order, too, with the oldest ad first and the newest ad last.

So, here’s the first one:

GMAC Ad from April 1999

Yes, the ’90s were really about the varying shades of green and teal. I remember them well.

And while the ad above is from the late ’90s, it still has a very ’90s feel to it.

Back then, the web was still young so it wasn’t uncommon for a phone number to be more prominently displayed in the ad over the web address. And just in case you’re wondering, no this is not the oldest ad with a website in my collection (but now you have me curious — I may need to see what the oldest ad is and give it some special recognition).

Anyway, let’s look in the lower part of this ad, amid the sea of green background:

By the way, the AC in GMAC stands for Acceptance Corporation. I had to look it up myself.

Basically, GMAC acts like a bank, willing to give GM customers the money they need to buy their new Chevrolet Cavalier or Pontiac Sunfire in exchange for monthly payments with a bit of interest tacked on to make it worth GM’s while.

Turns out, GM sold off GMAC in the 2000s and it was later rebranded as Ally Financial. It should be noted that General Motors still provides financing options for customers through a different division, now branded as simply GM Financial.

But back when the ad above appeared, GMAC was still very much a part of General Motors. So what happened to

That’s the typical Page Not Found error my Internet provider displays anytime I try to bring up a site that doesn’t exist. A check of shows that the domain is currently owned by, which is a GoDaddy enterprise. As it’s GoDaddy’s business to sell domains, I suppose they’d be happy to part with for a price.

I can’t fault GM too much for this slip as they cut ties with the company long ago.

Our next ad was a two-page spread, but only in the lower portion of the pages, from a magazine in April 2000:

GM ad from April 2000

I pixeled out the top of the magazine pages as those details are not important for our discussion here. But I wanted to give a sense of what the reader saw when opening the magazine to these two pages.

Across the bottom we have a bunch of cut out letters to spell out GM Buy Power. Part of the ad suggests you can shop anonymously, hence the cut out letters.

Maybe anonymous online shopping was normal back in 2000, but I’m not sure that’s the way financial sites work these days, with lots of cookies and audience segmentation meant to intuit your purchasing intentions.

But, fine. If you were shopping for a new GM car around the turn of the millennium, I suppose was an option:

I like how the ad even includes a pixelated address bar showing the site. Again, these were the early days of the web so advertisers needed to do a bit of education around what they were showing in their ads.

How about today? What ever became of

Hey! That’s not bad! currently redirects to, where you can get a credit card with rewards that equate to savings off a new GM vehicle.

GM has had a credit card program like this for a long time, as I recall, so it’s nice to see their old URL still points to something relevant today.

Finally, we have this relaxing fellow who appears to be taking a vacation on a tropical beach while sipping a tasty beverage on lounge chair equipped with Chevrolet tires:

GM Ad from September 2001

The details of the ad suggest you can use your GM Card rewards toward either the purchase of a new car, or toward other nice things like travel. Either way, the connotation of the ad is that having the GM card will give you more time to relax on a beach. Even if that means having four tires on your lounge chair.

But that’s all just marketing hype. What we care about here is the tiny print over the sandy background with a tidy URL for us to visit: That’s simple enough. I like how short the URL is and it’s probably easily remembered by anyone seriously interested in getting one of these cards.

Nearly two decades later, what happened to that domain?

Wonderfully, the site is still active. You can log in to your current card’s account, or sign up for a new card at the aforementioned It’s nice to see the domain is still topical all these years later.

Say what you will about credit cards and whether they’re a good value for people who need the financial assistance. This site isn’t a place for debating those merits. The point here is that, outside of a brand that GM no longer owns (GMAC), the other two domains are still pointing to relevant sites, and that makes web managers like myself happy.

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