Saturns May be Sold Alongside Other GM Brands in New, Major Market Megastores

General Motors is preparing to make a bold push to consolidate all of its brands under one roof in major metropolitan areas around the country. The move, which will be made public and explained in detail next month in San Francisco at the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention, comes as the number of standalone GM dealerships is dwindling inside city limits.

Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, is a champion of the initiative. He confirmed to Automotive News earlier this week that GM has "a big effort going on in the major markets."

That effort "would allow GM to maintain a high profile in cities where real estate is costly," wrote the trade magazine. "In many cities, domestic-brand dealers are selling because the real estate is more valuable than the franchise. To create enough showroom space for extra franchises, dealers would be encouraged to move service and parts operations to satellite centers."

The consolidation within metro areas, would reportedly not alert GM's existing organization of four separate brand groups:

  • Chevrolet
  • Buick-Pontiac-GMC
  • Saturn
  • Cadillac-Hummer-Saab

Outside of large cities, Saturn would continue to operate standalone stores like they've always done. "We're not changing from four channels to some other number," he said. "It's more about size and structure. How big does a dealership need to be? Does service need to be right on the site? Can we help them in areas of their IT infrastructure and other things?"

Update 1/21: GM Sends Letter to Retailers Regarding 'Megastore' Article

Source: Automotive News

Random Article from the SaturnFans.com Archives

Flashback Friday: First Saturn Sold Today in 1990

On this date in 1990, Saturn sold its first car. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the first Saturn - the blue SL2 sedan shown above - was sold just after midnight to Elaine Terry at Saturn of Clearwater. "I wanted an American-made car and decided to give it a try," Mrs. Terry told the newspaper. It was a 25th wedding anniversary present. USA Today and CNN were reportedly at the retail facility to document the event. "I kept it for 10 months and put over 5,000 miles on it. People all over the country wanted to buy the car from me. One man in Las Vegas was talking up to $100,000 for it."