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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Future Models Will Give Saturn a 'Boost'

Saturn says it expects about a 10% increase in U.S. sales next year from the total expected for 2002, thanks to an updated and expanded lineup. Jill Lajdziak, vice president of Saturn Sales, Service, and Marketing, told reporters at a media preview for the new Ion line of small cars that Saturn is on track to set a new sales record this year, with sales of between 285,000 and 300,000 vehicles.