General Motors Introduces New Instant-Win

General Motors Introduces New Instant-Win Airbags

With third-quarter sales sluggish and its share of the domestic market
down 11 percent since 1993, General Motors unveiled a new instant-win
airbag contest Monday.

The new airbags, which award fabulous prizes upon violent, high-speed
impact with another car or stationary object, will come standard in
all of the companys 1997 cars.

Auto accidents have never been so exciting, said GM vice-president
of marketing Roger Jenkins, who expects the contest to boost 1997
sales significantly. When you play the new GM Instant Win Airbag
Game, your next fatal collision could mean a trip for two to Super
Bowl XXXI in New Orleans. Or a years worth of free Mobil gasoline.

Though it does not officially begin until Jan. 1, 1997, the airbag
promotion is already being tested in select cities, with feedback
overwhelmingly positive.

As soon as my car started to skid out of control, I thought to
myself, Oh, boy, this could be it–I could be a big winner! said
Cincinnatis Martin Frelks, who lost his wife but won $50 Sunday when
the Buick LeSabre they were driving hit an oil slick at 60 mph and
slammed into an oncoming truck. When the car stopped rolling down the
embankment, I knew Ellen was dead, but all I could think about was
getting the blood and glass out of my eyes so I could read that

Its really addictive, said Sacramento, CA, resident Marjorie Kamp,
speaking from her hospital bed, where she is listed in critical
condition with severe brain hemorrhaging and a punctured right lung.
Ive already crashed four cars trying to win those Super Bowl
tickets, but I still havent won. I swear, Im going to win those
tickets–even if it kills me!

Kamp said that as soon as she is well enough, she plans to buy a new
Pontiac Bonneville and drive it into a tree.

GM officials are not surprised the airbag contest has been so well
received. In the past, nobody really liked car wrecks, and thats
understandable. After all, theyre scary and dangerous and, sometimes,
even fatal, GM CEO Paul Offerman said. But now,
when you drive a new GM car or truck, your next serious crash could
mean serious cash. Who wouldnt like that?

Offerman added that in the event a motorist wins a prize but is
killed, that prize will be awarded to the next of kin.

According to GMs official contest rules, odds of winning the grand
prize, a brand-new 1997 Cutlass Supreme, are 1 in 43,000,000.
Statistical experts, however, say the real chances of winning are
significantly worse. If you factor in the odds of getting in a
serious car accident in the first place–approximately 1 in 720,000–
the actual odds of winning a prize each time you step in your car
are more like 1 in 31 trillion.

Further, even if one is in an accident, there is no guarantee the
airbag will inflate. I was recently broadsided by a drunk driver in
my new Chevy Cavalier, said Erie, PA, resident Jerry Polaner. My car
was totaled, and because it was the side of my car that got hit, my
airbag didnt even inflate. But what really gets me is the fact that
the drunk driver, who rammed my side with the front of his 1997 Buick
Regal, won a $100 Office Depot gift certificate. Thats just wrong.

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