Saturn to GM: "Do you love me, do you love me not?" Most recently, we reported that GM was promising to keep the brand in the fold through 2012. Then we found out that there would be no 2009 Saturn Astras due to the glut of '08s languishing on dealer lots.
2009 Saturn Astra XREnlarge Photo
Looks like GM has changed its mind once again, battered about by economic woes. The shrinking giant now says that Saturn's options are quickly dwindling. According to marketing chief Mark LaNeve, they include "a new dualing pattern" (??), a partnership, and "an outright sale."
GM and the Saturn Franchise Operations Team will let dealers know what choices they face later this week. At that point, each dealer will be able to choose what makes the most sense. Automotive News reports that Todd Ingersoll, member of the Saturn franchise team and owner of two Saturn dealerships, was "fuzzy" regarding the option of shuttering Saturn altogether: "everything is fluid. You can't commit to any option."
Putting pressure on GM to decide Saturn's fate is the looming Feb. 17 deadline for GM to submit its viability plan to the U.S. Treasury Department for federal loan handouts. Ingersoll claims that GM's decision on Saturn could be announced within hours of submitting the viability plan. GM's overarching gameplan is to pare down to four main divisions: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC.
[source: Automotive News]