Auto Manifesto

December 10, 2008

Saturn Scenario

Automotive News reports this week that GM cannot close down unprofitable Saturn without spending a lot to buyout the 400+ dealers. Figures north of a billion dollars have been bandied about.

What does Saturn stand for, what does it represent? From the beginning it’s been a no-haggle, “friendlier” kind of company. That implies trust and honesty, which doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to position it as socially responsible and thus environmentally sensitive.

Perhaps it would be in everyone’s best interest if another manufacturer (or even a well funded upstart), especially one without a U.S. presence, took the brand off of the General’s hands to produce and sell a new line of vehicles that would resonate with the market, and help distance the brand from GM’s troubles. In one move such a company would obtain nationwide distribution.

Who could use one? Renault, Peugeot, or a Fiat brand (Alfa Romeo, Lancia, etc)? Maybe even an importer.

GM would get out of the deal without having to pay big bucks, the dealers would have another shot at staying in business, and maybe the market will have more and better choices.

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