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GM Might Kill Saturn, Pontiac, Saab Says Rumor Mill


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According to Bloomberg News on Wednesday, by way of Detroit News, GM is considering eliminating its Saturn, Pontiac, and Saab divisions. The move would ostensibly help it receive as much as $12 billion in federal assistance. As of late Wednesday, GM spokesman Steve Harris had no comment on the possible move.

Bloomberg's article quoted sources who came forth only under condition of anonymity. Axing divisions may be a part of GM's formal plan to be presented to Congress this coming Tuesday, December 2, as the Big Three return (hopefully on a commercial airline, or perhaps Greyhound) to make their case once more. After the first monetary request to Congress, Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders refused assistance to the Big Three and asked for fiscally responsible plans that show they will be good stewards of loaned monies, able eventually to pay it back.

Part of GM's enormous daily cash burn is supporting a behemoth dealer network--as well as vehicle R&D--for a grand total of eight brands. Paring down to five brands in all will conceivably make GM a leaner, meaner operation, bringing it closer to Ford (four brands) and Chrysler (three).

So what important vehicles might we lose in this scenario? Nothing that couldn't be shifted to another division or that isn't already just a rebadge. The most unique models that come to mind are the Saturn Astra (a rebadged Opel), Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice, Saab 9-3 and 9-5, and the Pontiac G8. I think the G8 would be the only significant loss, as it would leave GM without a rear-wheel-drive V-8 performance sedan, apart from the awesome (but twice-the-price) Cadillac CTS-V. Could the G8 be morphed into the next-gen Impala, which should always have a been a rear-driver anyway?--Colin Mathews
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