• Apr 15, 2009


In what General Motors spokesman Steve Janisse is calling a "very interesting" proposal, investor group Telesto Ventures has put in an official bid for Saturn. The consortium features a variety of backers, including Black Oak Partners LLC (a private equity group) and a number of Saturn dealers.

While the proposed deal doesn't appear to express interest in continuing to build or sell existing Saturn products over the long haul, the arrangement would apparently keep the 384-store network stocked with GM-sourced vehicles through 2011, allowing for an easier transition. According to Automotive News, Telesto's long-term vision hinges on selling vehicles from other manufacturers, primarily products from unnamed foreign companies. The plan, likened to the multi-brand approach favored by electronics giant Best Buy, would see a focus on smaller, fuel-efficient offerings that could also be sold by other outlets.

GM says a feasibility study into this program is underway, with a report scheduled for delivery to the brand's dealer body by early next week. If the deal goes through, one thing is for sure: Saturn will once again truly be "A Different Kind of Car Company," albeit not the sort that the division's founders originally intended.

[Source: Automotive News (subs. req.)]


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  • 47 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saturn-Opel-Holden, after Pontiac goes away. Nice, modern, performance coupes and sedans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Rick C.

        > Saturn-Opel-Holden

        Selling Opel and Holden through Saturn dealership is not feasible because of their respective high cost. GM lost an ass selling Opel Astra through Saturn dealership, and new owner of Saturn will be strictly looking at Asian cars as bases for badge engineering.

        Best Possible Case : You get rebadged Mitsubishi, Mazda, or Kia
        Worst Possible Case : You get Chinese car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Leaving Saturn dealers in operation (rather than shutting them down) will leave the door open for Chinese and Indian cars to penetrate the auto market faster, as an established retail chain will be already there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well they could sell tier 2 Japanese brands like Mitsubishi and Suzuki at the low end and brands like Tesla at the top end. Maybe European brands like Peugeot as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Should definatly be interesting to see how this all plays out. Keeping Saturn alive to me isnt very important but I can see how some of these dealers feel. They invested their time and especialy their money on this brand for years now and the possibility of being forced to close up shop because of your brands "owners" not giving you great products isnt that great of a feeling I bet.

      I'm invisioning with this the possibility of some EU brands and others having the opportunity to sell their cars here, possibly even some we have been begging for on this site for years. Although I'd love it if Saturn took a different approach and went about finding some hybrid or pure electric cars to sell at their dealerships. The advertising possibilities would be endless if they went that route. Have high up brands like the Tesla, and Fisker and some other brands from up and comers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's correct, no plants, designs or anything else is up for sale.

      GM is just selling the Saturn name and liability for the dealer network. Pre-bankruptcy it's not really a good deal and the dealers are already dropping like flies. Post-bankruptcy someone will probably be able to pick it up for pennies on the dollar or just take the dealer network and not the terrible Saturn brand name itself.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All they want is an American name plate to sell cheap chinese cars under.

      The worst part is you idiots will buy these new cheap cars further destroying the country.

      These types of ventures need to be stopped. The ONLY winners are the investors.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ... And the Chinese.

        I honestly hope they don't bring any Chinese cars. Yet. They should only be here when they are ready; ie:
        1. At least 4 star crash test rating
        2. Reliability similar to BMW's (which, contrary to popular belief, is only average). 3. Styling should not be pure copy/paste.
        4. Ability to keep up with demand.

        As of now, I can't think of a Chinese company that can consistently produce cars meeting the criteria. There are a few that can do it with a couple of cars; but that won't do.

        Patience is a virtue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeaaaahhhhh.... because having private equity firms take over auto companies has worked soooo well in the past. I'm looking at you, Cerberus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Granted the current crop of Opel Saturns is pretty damn good, but other than the fixed price selling practice and dent/rust proof body panels of the first ones, it has no brand heritage and equity. Just let Saturn die already, it won't be missed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can think of about 6-7 different modes/brand that would fit Saturn perfectly.
      Renault Megane
      Citroen C5
      Peugeot 308
      Who knows maybe I can get another Saurn after my Aura lease is up!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ hipermiler

        I am sure you are referring to quality and reliability. We are in 2009, these guys have come a long way since the 70's and 80's. Heck they even have F1 racing teams, which is more than I can say for the Koreans (at least). Have a look at a current Citroen or Renault and compare to a Kia or Hyundai (or even Honda)...day and night.

        I know its wishfull thinking, but European automakers would be a great fit for Saturn. Japanese and Korean cars all look and drive the same.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Perry

        There is a good reason why French cars were driven out of US market in the 70s and 80s, and French cars would still flop in the US market today.

        As of now, only Japanese and Korean automakers are capable of supplying US-legal cars at a competitive pricing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not very often you get a chance to buy a planet. nyuknyuknyuk...
      • 5 Years Ago
      They will probably purchase Chinese cars and rebadge them.

      here in South America a company called "Effa Motors", from Uruguay, is seeling Chinese cars in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina with "Effa" brand (see www.effamotors.com.br).

      These cars are from 2 or 3 manufacturers in China, but all sold in Brazil with the same brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's not all that different from what GM did in the '90s to fill out their Geo brand portfolio. So it could work if whoever takes over Saturn can reach the right agreements with whatever foreign manufacturer bites the hook. But it seems a far cry from what Saturn was originally conceived to be.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems like a neat idea, but how are they going to service all those different cars? Lets say they bring over the Nano, Megane, a Fisker, amd a couple of other nifty different cars I can't think of right now. You'd have four or five different cars, each with its own set of parts and its own set of tools and ways to service them. Your technicans better be aces and the parts department would be bigger then the dealership.

      Still seems like a neat idea.
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