Retailer Recounts Details of Sudden Saturn Closure

Barbara Wieland from the Lansing State Journal: Sherrill Freeborough is finding there is life after Saturn. Freeborough was one of 340 Saturn dealers left hanging when GM's deal to sell the division to Penske Automotive Group collapsed September 30. GM quickly halted Saturn production - including dropping the Outlook crossover made at its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant - and began shutting down the brand. "It was sickening, disheartening," said the normally upbeat, optimistic Freeborough. "It took some time for the reality of it to sink in." Freeborough said the sudden death of Saturn took dealers, salespeople and even Saturn executives by surprise. "(Saturn General Manager) Jill Lajdziak was working on her press release about Saturn joining Penske when word came through," Freeborough said. "Saturn workers had gotten their Penske business cards earlier that day. It sure crushed a lot of dealers' hearts."

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It's been more than three years since General Motors announced it was shuttering its "different kind of car" division. At the time, Roger Penske was attempting to purchase the brand and possibly stock it with cars sourced from plants in the US, South Korea, Mexico, or even Europe. Ultimately Mr. Penske couldn't get a deal done within GM's tight timeframes and Saturn was closed. While frantically attempting to keep up with rumors swirling around Saturn that fateful year, I made a decision to rethink the way I was collecting and reporting the news. In the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding Saturn, I began to draw up plans for new and improved version of SaturnFans.com that could not only help visitors track what Saturn news was happening, but where it was happening as it was happening.