Auto Service World
News   December 8, 2008   by Auto Service World

The Future of Saturn Remains in Jeopardy

With GM seeking $18 billion in aid from Congress questions about future plans for the Saturn brand hit when news came that General Motors executives were not allocating new money towards future Saturn products. In a plan submitted to Congress last week, GM said it would “explore alternatives” for the Saturn brand, which has “performed below expectations.”

GM’s plan says the company will focus “substantially on its product development and marketing resources” to support its Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC brands.

Unit sales for Saturn were down 21% from last year (2007). This is compared to a 16% drop for the entire auto industry. One option at this point would be to manufacture a limited range of small, fuel-efficient cars and sell through their deal network, which is made up of 211 dealers across 425 stores. Another would be to scrap the brand altogether but will be costly to do so without dealer buyouts.

Other options include overhauling the entire lineup, partnering with another carmaker, or selling the brand outright. Since its creation in 1985, Saturn has never turned a profit in their attempts to compete with fuel-efficient imports. Their small, economical vehicles have always been loser for GM. Only time will tell what General Motor has in store for the future of its brand.

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