Saturn Dealers Seek Replacement for GM

From Reuters by way of CNNMoney.com: General Motors and its Saturn dealers are moving toward a deal to spin off the brand's distribution network and open it to products from other automakers after 2011, according to a GM memo. GM said it expected to phase out Saturn in its viability plan submitted to the government on Tuesday, and later that day GM executives said all options were on the table. Among the options, GM and its Saturn dealers will investigate a spin-off of the Saturn Distribution Corp, an independent GM subsidiary with which Saturn dealers have their franchise agreements, GM said in a memo sent to Saturn owners late Wednesday. If the plan moves forward, Saturn dealers would source products from other automakers, Jill Lajdziak, general manager of Saturn, said in the memo obtained by Reuters. "The goal - from a product perspective - would be to find future vehicles that match the Saturn brand: fuel-efficient, safe, reliable and affordable," Lajdziak said. "From a retailing perspective, we would build on our core strength of unmatched customer service," she said.

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GM Vice Chairman of global product development, Bob Lutz, recently talked with Motor Trend magazine about the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. Part of the discussion touched on GM's use of consumer clinics to judge upcoming future car designs. "We're dialing back on clinics when styling is a home run," Mr. Lutz told Motor Trend in their October 2005 issue.