On this date, September 13, 2004, talk-show host Oprah Winfrey gave away 300 new Pontiac G-6 sedans to every member of the studio audience. As far as TV publicity stunts go, this giveaway topped the list. Each car was worth almost $30,000, and the audience members had no idea what they would be getting, right up to the moment they discovered all of them were new car recipients.

How did the show audience react to the Oprah giveaway?

oprah winfrey gave audience 300 new cars on this date in 2004

Oprah Winfrey gestures at the “Oprah Winfrey Show” | Getty

That show, and the moment the audience realized they would all be getting cars, produced screams, hopping up and down, hugging, laughter, and more. Some audience members fainted. Publicity about the event lasted for months and years.

There were many factors that resulted in the Oprah Winfrey Show being one of the most popular talk shows ever. And also why it stayed on the air for 24 seasons. But this giveaway, and others that followed, helped to cement the show’s status for entertainment, knowledge, and the unexpected.

Were there problems with the 300-car Oprah giveaway?

A couple of months after this show, she did another giveaway for teachers. Televisions, laptops, washer and dryer combos, along with a check for $2,500, were part of the package. That $2,500 kick was due to issues that bubbled up after the car giveaway. It was hoped it would cover taxes on the items given away. That’s because of a number of problems arising from the Pontiac car handouts.

First off was a disgruntled Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors. It was the one that actually ponied up for the cars, not Oprah’s show. Pontiac even paid state sales tax on each G-6. All of this came out of Pontiac’s advertising budget. Of course, Oprah toured the Pontiac assembly plant as a segment of the show.

Taxes became an issue for many recipients

oprah winfrey gave audience 300 new cars on this date in 2004

Oprah Winfrey audience car giveaway | via YouTube

But recipients of the cars still faced a lot of taxes on the donations. In all, associated taxes could hit more than $6,000 per car. One woman with keys to a G-6 said, “It’s not a free car, it’s more of a 75 percent-off car. Of course, that’s still not such a bad deal.” Some sold the cars outright or bought cheaper ones to cover taxes. Others took out car loans from the taxes due.

As for the teachers’ giveaway, IRS taxes from that amounted to between $4,500 and $6,000. So that $2,500 stipend didn’t cover all of what the IRS came looking for. But it sure was a lot better than what most audience members ever got from a talk show.

oprah winfrey gave audience 300 new cars on this date in 2004

Pontiac G-6 sedan | GM

And Oprah knew that the idea of giving everyone a car, and the mayhem that ensued, would be television gold. Her highly-rated show saw its highest ratings with these giveaways. And it surely got Pontiac more attention to its G-6 sedans than it could have gotten advertising it separately. Especially when you consider it wasn’t such a memorable or remarkable car, except within the context of the giveaway.

Keyword: Oprah Winfrey Gave Audience 300 New Cars on This Date in 2004

CAR'S NEWS RELATED

Audi RS4 Avant Competition review: is the RS4 fun to drive again?

Final special edition o’clock for the Audi RS4, is it? So the RS4 Competition isn’t any faster? Hardly Christmas, is it? Are you building up to a big reveal here? Presume they let some Germans do it then, and kept you well away from the toolbox? Is it now ...

View more: Audi RS4 Avant Competition review: is the RS4 fun to drive again?

Audi RS 4 Avant, RS 5 Models Get Competition Packages With Less Sound Deadening

The Competition Plus package included a suspension that can be as much as 0.78 inches lower than other a standard RS model.

View more: Audi RS 4 Avant, RS 5 Models Get Competition Packages With Less Sound Deadening

2023 Audi R8 GT Arrives in Final Form With 2010 Throwback Vibes

Audi’s Final V10 Weight Reduction Rare, fast, and gorgeous! Those are good words to describe the 2023 Audi R8 GT, limited to just 333 units worldwide. Officially called the R8 Coupe V10 GT RWD, the new super sports car is Audi’s most powerful rear-wheel drive vehicle yet, with unique ...

View more: 2023 Audi R8 GT Arrives in Final Form With 2010 Throwback Vibes

Audi R8 successor will be fully electric

An Audi supercar is in the works and it could have even greater levels of performance

View more: Audi R8 successor will be fully electric

Audi Hungaria: Tool shop expansion marks major milestone in Győr

An additional 6,300 square meters of space for exclusive series production

View more: Audi Hungaria: Tool shop expansion marks major milestone in Győr

Audi RS3 Spied Wearing Early Refresh For Bodywork

We might not see the camouflage come off for a while.

View more: Audi RS3 Spied Wearing Early Refresh For Bodywork

Audi's R8 V10 bows out with RWD GT

It's the end of the road for Audi's V10 supercar.

View more: Audi's R8 V10 bows out with RWD GT

Saudi Arabian GP working to address F1 race safety concerns

Is wet weather set to disrupt the Japanese GP weekend? Honda logo to return to Red Bull and AlphaTauri F1 cars Saudi Arabia’s minister of sports Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal states that he is working with Formula 1 to assert the safety of next year’s grand prix in ...

View more: Saudi Arabian GP working to address F1 race safety concerns

The new 2023 Audi R8 V10 GT returns for its ICE finale

Audi R8 V10 GT Limited Edition is the V10’s Swan Song

The Audi R8 GT RWD Kicks Up Performance

Audi's Electric R8 Successor May Be a Long Time Coming, Report Says

2023 Range Rover Sport, Audi R8 V10 GT, Ford Performance power upgrades: Car News Headlines

Audi Says Goodbye to the R8 With a 602-HP Rear-Drive GT

New R8 GT is the last Audi V10 supercar

Audi reveals new R8 V10 GT RWD as last hurrah for V10

Audi Says Goodbye To The V10-Powered R8 With This Limited Edition Model

2023 Audi TT RS Iconic Edition celebrates 25 years of the TT

Audi R8 V10 GT RWD: a supercar swansong

Audi TT RS Iconic Edition Celebrates 25 Years Of The Tourist Trophy

OTHER CAR NEWS

;
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network TopCarNews France | Actualités et Salons Automobiles, Fiches Techniques, Photos et Magazine Auto