Don Hudler: "I Didn’t Expect to Finish this Way"

Peter Brown from Automotive News: At 75, Saturn megadealer Don Hudler figures he's going to stick with the brand till the fat lady sings. "We're diehards. We'll probably go to the bitter end," Hudler, the former chairman of Saturn Corp., said last week after the shocking news that Roger Penske's deal to buy the Saturn brand had collapsed. Hudler owns three Saturn dealerships in Houston and three in Dallas. The day after the deal collapsed, floor traffic "all but stopped," he said. Hudler's history is intertwined with the once-promising brand. He was its marketing chief in the early 1990s as Saturn became the industry's leader in customer service and loyalty. Then he became chairman, briefly ran a GM subsidiary that bought more than 20 Saturn dealerships, and then bought the Texas stores in 2001. Now he's looking at an empty cupboard and a slow death for the brand. "I never like to admit that I don't have a plan," he said in a phone interview. "But I was stunned by it. It sounded like it [the sale to Penske] was just waiting to close."

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Video: Two Saturns Featured During Road Rally Themed GM NAIAS Press Conference, 2-Mode Plug-in Hybrid Vue Still Planned for 2010

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General Motors opened the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit yesterday with a road rally of sorts featuring 17 new and upcoming cars and crossovers – including four global premieres – that underscores GM's ongoing commitment to emotionally compelling design, leading fuel efficiency and advanced technology.  Two Saturns, four Cadillacs, one Buick, one Pontiac, one Opel, and eight Chevrolets were featured during the presentation.