It Really is a Different Car Company

Steve Finlay from Ward's Dealer Business: The GM-Penske deal that saves Saturn is considered good news for an industry seeing too much unpleasantness lately, from vehicle sales in a free fall to auto makers in bankruptcy. But few people realize the full implication of the reprieve. One who does is Jack Nerad, Kelly Blue Book's executive market analyst and editorial director. He calls the arrangement "one of the most significant developments" at a time filled with them. Here's why: "The proposed acquisition marks the beginning of a new business model in this industry; a model in which the distribution side of the business controls the brand, and the manufacturing is conducted by one or more sub-contractors," Nerad says. He predicts the possibility of Saturn dealers eventually marketing Korean or Chinese-built vehicles, or selling products an international auto maker builds in the U.S. Whichever, the main part of the "new Saturn" is not who makes the cars but who sells them. Auto makers won't play the lead role. The dealers will star in this production.

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Kansas City Aura Plant Approves GM Contract

The UAW strike that brought Saturn's Aura midsize sedan to a screeching halt earlier this month is finally over. "We're certainly happy to be able to resume production of the Malibu and Aura," GM spokesman Dan Flores told the Detroit News in an article earlier today.