Is Saturn Set For A New Orbit?
CNBC Auto and Airline Industry Reporter
Saturn owners are getting an e-mail today that essentially tells them their beloved brand is not going to die.
But in essence, Saturn sent this letter to 1.5 million of its customers as a way of re-assuring them the brand is and will always be very much alive.
Saturn sent the letter to customers just two days after GM announced it would either sell or spin off the brand by the end of 2011. That announcement, intended to give the Obama Auto Team a clear sense of how GM plans to re-structure its business, has spooked Saturn customers and dealers. Customers who have been loyal to Saturn are wondering what will happen after 2011. Meanwhile Saturn dealers are scrambling to figure out how they can keep their current customers and also bring in new business.
Those dealers are now considering buying Saturn from GM and running it as an independent auto company. Where would the new Saturn cars and SUVs come from? Possibly from GM. Possibly from other auto makers. The point is, Saturn Dealers would stick together.
For them, it is a very smart move. Saturn's dealer distribution network is considered by many in the auto industry to be second only to Lexus when it comes quality and customer care. When GM built the Saturn dealer network, it picked some of the best dealers in the country, and they have done a spectacular job. It's the reason they do not want to get rid of Saturn once GM is finished with the brand.
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