Saturn Survives!

Joshua Duval

One of Saturn's biggest dealers has said that the brand will split from General Motors, and continue selling cars made by another company.

"In the next three weeks, we will announce a long-term partnership that will provide Saturn with world-class cars," said Todd Ingersoll, the leader of Saturn's Franchise Operations Team. Ingersoll owns Saturn of Danbury and Saturn of Watertown.

The Franchise Operations Team was given the task of looking for ways to separate Saturn from GM, its founder and parent company. It was set up in December, shortly after GM announced that the Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn and Saab brands were under strategic review.

"Saturn is a brand that is beloved by consumers and we wanted to find another company that sees value in the brand. We think we've done it," Ingersoll said.

It is not known at this time if the new partner would buy Saturn, or simply provide it with vehicles to sell. According to Ingersoll, Saturn will now transition over the next two years from selling GM-produced vehicles to selling vehicles produced by its new partner.

Saturn executives say GM has been cooperative in helping Saturn find ways to survive, rather than simply attempting to shut it down.

"GM has been clear that they will not support us with new products after 2011," said Saturn communications manager Mike Morrissey. "But at the same time, GM has been very supportive of reasonable alternatives, whether that's selling the brand outright or spinning it off into an independent company."

GM announced yesterday that it may have bidders for Hummer. The Saab brand continues to cause headaches for the American automaker, but it is continuing its attempts to make the Swedish subsidiary more appealing to potential buyers. Pontiac's future may be the murkiest of all GM's brands currently under review now that Saturn's has been (partially) revealed.

Source: The News Times

This could get interesting in light of news that GM Europe could be splitting off from GM as well. Is there any chance this could complete the recently increasing "Opelization" of Saturn, such that GM Europe's split could wind up taking Saturn and perhaps Holden as well along with them? With considerable overlap in their existing model ranges, it would seem to make sense!

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