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?
Saturn was created by General Motors chairman Roger Smith in the late 1980s to be a Different Kind of Car Company. While the first Saturns were generally pretty unremarkable, it was the retail experience that really set the automaker apart from other domestic brands. Saturn was the first marque to adopt a complete no-haggle, no rebate pricing policy and they treated customers like friends. It now appears that the dealers who were the core of the Saturn experience are getting out while the gettin
According to John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles U.S.A. Inc., his company was approached by a senior official at General Motors to see about selling the Indian vehicles in Saturn's 403 dealerships. Global Vehicles holds the contract to distribute Mahindra's line of diesel-powered pickup trucks here in America. Apparently, the offer was rebuffed, though the possibility remains that Mahindra pickups could be sold at selected Saturn dealerships. Instead of handing over the rights to sell the vehicle
Saturn dealers must be feeling pretty unloved by their parent company right about now. Yesterday, General Motors announced as part of its updated restructuring plan that the interstellar brand would not be getting any new products, meaning that it's left to die on the vine when the current range reaches the end of its lifespan. GM has experience with this routine, having euthanized Oldsmobile earlier this decade, spending enormous amounts of money paying off franchised dealerships along the way.
The good news: Saturns will remain in production until 2012 or 2013... at least. The bad news: the Saturns currently being produced might not get any new updates or engineering before then. That's the bitter and the sweet that GM revealed to Saturn dealers at the NADA conference.
It sounds as if it's about time to get Bob Lutz some face-time with Mark LaNeve, 'cause the two men are trumpeting vastly different statements regarding the future of The General's interstellar brand. Recall that Lutz was recently quoted as saying, "It's really much better to have fewer brands, do it well and then market the hell out of them." This statement was directed squarely at the Saturn Aura, which is selling in much lower quantities than its platform-mate, the Chevy Malibu. Much of the b