General Motors Plans to Sell Saturn this Year

From the Associated Press by way of the NYT: Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak said the brand, once billed as a different kind of car company, most likely will be sold, given the interest of several buyers who have surfaced. She says GM will take other bids for the brand until June 1. In February, the company said it would keep Saturn going through the end of the 2011 model year, which is late summer in 2011. But because of the interested buyers and demands to restructure faster, GM decided to pull the sale deadline forward, Lajdziak said. Lajdziak would not say when GM expects to announce a Saturn sale, but conceded the company will be on a fast timeline to complete a deal by the end of the year. "We remain confident given the expressions of interest we've already had," she said.

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Flashback Friday: How Saturn Built a Brand

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Saturn launched its lineup of compact sedans and coupes in the fall of 1990 as an relatively unknown and untested manufacturer of "a different kind of car." The Saturn team did the impossible by implementing a set of strategies that included building quality vehicles and crafting an intriguing message that attracted car buyers who had written off domestic cars long ago. That was no small feat. In his book, "Building Strong Brands," author David Aaker set out to "not only to describe what was done but also to suggest the logic behind the strategies: why they were pursued, and how they were intended to contribute to the brand." He concluded that "although certainly some elements of the Saturn strategy may have been critical, it was the synergy of the total program rather than the power of any single element - that led to its success."