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Regardless of what entity General Motors eventually unloads its network of 380 Saturn dealerships upon, it's not planning to continue supplying vehicles to the displaced automaker past 2011 at the latest. This being the case, the majority of prospective Saturn bidders will need to find an alternate source for cars and trucks to stock its newly purchased showroom floors. But who?

According to The Detroit News, both Mitsubishi and Nissan are in talks with various parties that are considering making a bid for Saturn. Of those two options, Mitsubishi seems to make a bit more sense as it only has about 430 dealerships in the U.S. and it is therefore not nearly as well represented as Nissan. However, Nissan has a much deeper product portfolio and it already demonstrated that it is capable of selling in significantly higher sales volumes. At this point, it's unclear whether the Nissan or Mitsubishi-supplied vehicles would be badged and sold as Saturns, but given Mitsubishi's damaged reputation in the States (save the Evo), selling its wares under a brand with a reputation for strong customer service and ownership satisfaction could be just the opening it needs to find success in the U.S. market.

In related news, the DetNews is also reporting that the list of potential bidders for Saturn has been whittled down to "two or three," which likely includes Penske Automotive Group, Magna International and investor group Telesto Ventures.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This makes zero sense to me. Does Mitsubishi really need 400-some more dealers, most of which would only compete in areas they've already got dealers in?

      The only possible benefit to Mitsubishi that I see is if they used Saturn as their own Scion-type brand and brought the Colt and i over to run in this market.

      But why wouldn't they just brand them as Mitsubishis and sell them out of their own dealer network in the first place?

      This seems really silly to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mitsubishis are notorious bottom-feeder cars sold with EZ terms, and their purchasing Saturn would sully its name. I can't count the number of Galants I see on the road with unrepaired body damage and Wal*Mart wheel covers, huffing blue smoke as they go.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like this idea. Would gladly consider a Saturn-dressed Lancer Sportbak (sp?), especially named Ion. How about Ion5.

      "[G]iven Mitsubishi's damaged reputation in the States ... selling its wares under a brand with a reputation for strong customer service and ownership satisfaction could be just the opening it needs to find success in the U.S. market."

      I think so too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saturn could be an outlet for Mitsubishi to sell the products it doesn't offer in the US. A lineup of Colt, i, and Grandis under the Saturn name would do well to go back to the brand's original function. Mitsubishi also has lots of partnerships worldwide, so perhaps they could even find someone else to add a compact and midsize sedan to that line for added volume.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its very Interesting to know that it was mitsubishi who helped Hyundai come to the US
      • 5 Years Ago
      All of the Mitsubishi dealers I've seen are buildings are hand-me-down, dumpy buildings/lots (same goes for KIA). The Mistu dealer closest to me is in a building formerly occupied by a Hyundai-Subaru franchise. The Hyundai-Subie dealer moved to a much nicer-looking spot nearby.

      Saturn dealerships are among the nicest of any mainstream brand. Typically, they're clean and welcoming with friendly, knowledgeable employees. Too bad their cars suck (Astra & Aura only kinda suck). The Lancer, Galant, Eclipse and Outlander would be a better model line-up than Saturn has ever had!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your Mitsu dealer sounds like a dealership I know near/at the City of Industry, CA...an old ragtag building formerly a Subie/Hyundai dealer, now a Mitsu with one of their cars on display on the roof facing the 60fwy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your Mitsu dealer sounds like a dealership I know near/at the City of Industry, CA...an old ragtag building formerly a Subie/Hyundai dealer, now a Mitsu with one of their cars on display on the roof facing the 60fwy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about the new Endeavor 2010 and Galant 2011 and Eclipse 2011?
      Also, they are going to refresh the Outlander and maybe bring the Montero back.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mitsubishi makes some of the finest engines in the world, very close behind BMW. It is just too bad what's attached to the engine isn't as good as some of the competitors.

      If you look at the automotive landscape today, Mitsubishi derived engines and platforms are used in quite a few vehicles. That is one reason why the company is actually doing alright. I see more Lancers driving around everyday.

      If Mitsubishi took over Saturn lots it would give them great showrooms. I agree with a few of you that Mitsu lots stink. Many of them look like relics from the 1970s that were never updated.
        • 5 Years Ago
        mitsu engines have the tendency of burning oil(white smoke from tailpipe) with a lot of mileage.other than that, yes the engines are bulletproof
        • 5 Years Ago
        "mitsu engines have the tendency of burning oil(white smoke from tailpipe) with a lot of mileage.other than that, yes the engines are bulletproof."

        Don't know if that is true today but it was in the late 80's early 90's when they supplied a small V6 to Chrysler. The engines would smoke at idle after warming up. The reason was the exhaust valve stems would not seal after wearing on the soft metal seats. This allowed unburnt fuel into the exahust (making gray smoke, sometimes ist would look white). The issue was finally corrected by using a stronger part that would not wear prematurely. This is well known problem on the Chrysler forums about these engines. The later ones did not seem to have the problem. And yes the rest of the engine was pretty strong and reliable. The 3 liter V6 didn't have to have anything done to strengthen the bottom end when they slapped two turbos and a 24 valve head on it for the Dodge Stealth and the Mitsu 3000 GT.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uh, no. Burning oil is blue smoke. White smoke means burning coolant. Mitsu engines don't have a "tendency" to do either. Old cars that don't get maintained properly or abused cars from any manufacturer tend to smoke.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM if you are going to sell Saturn off then at least you can continue to supply re badge Euro cars to Saturn and make some money instead of mounting on another competitor....
      • 5 Years Ago
      even though their sales are pretty bad, now, more than ever before, they have a desireable lineup. The lancer has the highest satisfaction among its owners 2 years in a row, the outlander is excellent overall as well. by the time the new eclipse and the new galant comes, they should see improved US sales.. especially with what is happening to chrystler and GM
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please just let it die! If you love something set it free.........
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm surprised that Mitsubishi is still in business in America. Here in Canada, there are so few dealers and so few sold, it's like they're not even in business here. Same goes for Suzuki. I have no idea how they make money.
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