When it comes to Saturn, General Motors is a little stuck. The plucky brand that promised something different and then turned into much the same hasn't seen critical acclaim or profitability for more than ten years. GM has halted funding for new Saturn products, and its plan to Congress indicated that a sharp focus on Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. That would appear to leave Saturn something pretty close to dead.

But GM can't simply close the Saturn shop. There are 425 Saturn dealerships, and one dealer-broker figured that GM would have to shell out $3-$4 million to each dealer if Saturn gets put down. That puts GM past the billion dollar mark even before any other cost is taken into account. And Saturn can't simply be sold either, except as a brand name and blueprints – it has no engineering nor manufacturing abilities outside of GM.

A meeting is planned for later this week to "conceive a new business model" to make Saturn profitable, because the uncertainty isn't helping anyone. Dealers don't like the sound of GM putting all of its eggs in a basket that doesn't include Saturn, customers don't like the sound of "No new product," and GM can't stay in a holding pattern and shell out money for a brand going nowhere. We hope they sort something out that restores its initial promise – and some profits – because we still have a soft spot for the otherwordly brand.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]