Henderson: Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky Operations Could be Sold

Speaking on a conference call yesterday, GM CEO Fritz Henderson said the company would listen to offers for its Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky operations. It was previously thought that the two performance cars would die off as part of GM's restructuring.

The Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters, along with the European version, the Opel GT, are built at GM's Wilmington, Del., plant. The two cars form the best-selling budget-performance car platform in the U.S., having outsold the perennial favorite, the Mazda MX-5 Miata, since 2007.

GM sold 10,739 Solstices and 9162 Skys last year, compared to Mazda's 10,977 Miatas. Pontiac also launched a coupe version of the Solstice this year, despite the fact that Pontiac will be phased out in the next year. Saturn is set to be sold or shut down by the end of the year

Henderson said during the conference call that it would consider offers for the Wilmington plant from interested parties.

"If someone were to approach us with a proposal that made good sense for our people, we would be open. We are not out actively trying to market a plant, per se. But if a party were interested, we'd be very open to this and would encourage it. We haven't had any inbounds on the subject at this point."

The Pontiac Solstice was widely regarded as the first vehicle in former product chief Bob Lutz's renaissance of GM's cars. Following the Solstice were the Saturn Sky, Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac CTS, all vehicles that have indicated GM is finally turning its attention to its car lineup.

Chrysler, which failed to restructure and is now under bankruptcy protection, has been trying to sell its Dodge Viper operations in a similar fashion since last summer. Chrysler chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli said that the company had been approached by several third parties interested in taking over, but no sale has been announced.

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