Opinion: Fiat Should Have Teamed with Saturn Instead of Chrysler

David Booth from the Fast Lane via MSN Autos: I also suspect that in my perfect world that Fiat would not have bought Chrysler. Come to think of it, after visiting Chrysler's research and development facilities recently, methinks that in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's perfect world, he too would not have bought Chrysler. According to Business Week, it came as a surprise to Fiat's major domo that Chrysler's future development cupboard was bare save for a Grand Cherokee and the 300 sedan. Perhaps he should have been reading Yours Truly - as well as a number of other journalists - who noted that during this recent economic collapse, Ann Arbor basically shut down. It also might seem harsh of me, but except for some rare successes like the Dodge Ram, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Journey, there's really not much to save in Chrysler's lineup. The big question on every auto pundit's lips is how the company will survive the 18 to 24 months until the Fiat association can start paying dividends. Sales of existing models are way down and the company's plants are running far below capacity. In the end, what Mr. Marchionne is getting from the Chrysler takeover is a distribution network and, considering the recent news surrounding Roger Penske's pullout, he might have been better off with, wait for it, Saturn. Before you dismiss this as one mojito too many (and admittedly, the germ of this idea was hatched sipping on 151-proof Bacardi), at least with Saturn, Mr. Marchionne would have known he was only getting a distributor network. And a good one at that.

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General Motors Statement Regarding Black Oak Partners Press Release About Saturn

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As noted in GM's viability plan presented on February 17, 2009, GM announced it would review the potential spin-off or sale of Saturn and if those options did not prove viable Saturn's operations would be wound down over time. Over approximately the past 60 days, a sub-committee of Saturn retailers has been studying the feasibility of the sale or spin-off options, and has identified some parties that are potentially interested in a purchase or spin-off of Saturn. We are advised that one of the interested parties is Black Oak Partners. We are not at liberty to discuss any other interested party. With respect to what the eventual outcome concerning Saturn might be with Black Oak or any other interested party, it is simply premature at this time to speculate on what any eventual outcome may be.