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Old 05-12-2009, 06:01 PM   #1
wifeofcore
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Default Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of "Gre

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Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of "Green" Car Company

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This morning an article in the Detroit News stated that "General Motors was preparing Monday to submit term sheets to about 12 potential buyers of the endangered Saturn brand." Included in the terms is speculated to be the asking price and a list of assets accompanying the sale.

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Old 05-15-2009, 01:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

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A fifth name was revealed by the Detroit News today: the Lazarus team headed by founder Gint Federas. The Lazarus team is a corporate turn-around company based in California. It plans to carve out a niche for Saturn by making it the exclusive distributor of eco-friendly models. While the company would initially contract manufacturing of their cars out to GM (it has already committed to supplying Saturn with its current models until 2012), Lazarus hopes to eventually secure a manufacturer that will provide plug-in hybrid vehicles and eventually, electric cars. Federas told Detroit News that "We're going to make this a different kind of green car company."
Compared to all the options I've heard so far, this sounds great! This is close to what I'd been proposing in some of my posts.

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Old 05-15-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

Not so sure about the electric part, but specializing in AFV's will certainly draw my attention.

In case you didn't catch this Top Gear episode Honda FCX Clarity (YouTube)

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Old 05-15-2009, 03:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

"General Motors was preparing Monday to submit term sheets to about 12 potential buyers of the endangered Saturn brand"

Term sheets, offers to purchase, lawyer's perusals.....
Is GM running out of time? This sounds great, but I believe that the gov't task force on fixing this mess doesn't have the time for GM to be farting around with small potatoes like this. With bankruptcy fast approaching as expressed by financial and GM executives themselves, disposing of 450 Saturn, Hummer, and Saab dealerships with minimum fuss isn't rocket science. If Chrysler can eliminate a thousand dealerships with Chapter 11 and some registered letters, GM can't be far behind.

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Old 05-15-2009, 03:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

It would be cool if Springhill was part of the included assets and they could go back to what Saturn was intended for from day 1.

I know it's a pipedream and chance of happening is near zero, but it would still be pretty damn cool.

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Old 05-15-2009, 05:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

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Originally Posted by rollsroyce250 View Post
"General Motors was preparing Monday to submit term sheets to about 12 potential buyers of the endangered Saturn brand"

Term sheets, offers to purchase, lawyer's perusals.....
Is GM running out of time? This sounds great, but I believe that the gov't task force on fixing this mess doesn't have the time for GM to be farting around with small potatoes like this. With bankruptcy fast approaching as expressed by financial and GM executives themselves, disposing of 450 Saturn, Hummer, and Saab dealerships with minimum fuss isn't rocket science. If Chrysler can eliminate a thousand dealerships with Chapter 11 and some registered letters, GM can't be far behind.
As long as there are legitimate offers for Saturn it is in everyone's interest for a sale of the Saturn retail network and brand to take place as opposed to simply closing dealerships. With the US Government's recent loans to GM they join a list of creditors and other parties having an interest in recovering as much value as possible during the restructuring. Saturn may indeed be "small potatoes" in comparison with the whole of GM but I can assure you that most creditors would prefer recovering some fraction of what is owed to them, than nothing at all.

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Old 05-15-2009, 06:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

IMO GM would not want to choose a buyer for Saturn that has the best chance to be a competitor.

The best business choice would be someone who probably doesn't have a chance to make Saturn successful.

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Old 05-15-2009, 06:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

I hope that the Saturn dealer network stays intact and a new owner used the brand name wisely.

What worries me most is many specialized Saturn parts will no longer be made that are normally ONLY sold through Saturn dealers. These types of parts will cause enough grief for people to scrap their cars in no time.

As for GM being worried about a competitor, if they stop building Saturns altogether, then many of the same or very similar vehicles made as Chevrolets (and Pontiac-which goes away anyway) will do better.

I don't think any brand and mfg new to the US market can make a big dent here unless they build something that is so enticing, people have to have it regardless. Cars in this catagory that come to mind are the Mini and the Smart car.

GM is hoping that the buyer of Saturn (and Chrysler) will likely face extreme difficulty in the US market due to the economy and an unknown or tarnished past here-this includes brands such as Peugot, Renault, Fiat and others from Europe, Asia, etc. Don't know how China stands here; China will likely be the next Japan or Korea and they might be a top contender for Saturn.

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Old 05-15-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

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IMO GM would not want to choose a buyer for Saturn that has the best chance to be a competitor.

The best business choice would be someone who probably doesn't have a chance to make Saturn successful.
A lot of the choice will depend if the sale needs a court approval. The interests of those who are owed money or have other claims will be best served by Saturn being sold to the group making the best offer in terms of highest payment. I suspect the creditors will make their opinions known to the court. The US Treasury on the other hand might take a more political position and side with a group promising a longer run benefit of keeping people working in the US. GM isn't necessarily in the drivers seat here depending on how it all plays out. It is going to be interesting to watch.

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Old 05-15-2009, 09:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

What would GM really be selling here? They can't sell dealerships, as those don't belong to GM. Will they be selling all of Saturn's parts supplies, or will those stay with GM for Chev dealers to do Saturn warranty and service work? Will they be selling any manufacturing plants? Those are owned by GM, not Saturn. Are they only selling the Saturn name? What's that worth? Doesn't seem like they have a lot to sell to some upstart company.

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Old 05-15-2009, 11:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rollsroyce250 View Post
What would GM really be selling here?
When your pockets are absolutely empty, you can even sell your blood.

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Old 05-16-2009, 05:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

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Originally Posted by rollsroyce250 View Post
What would GM really be selling here? They can't sell dealerships, as those don't belong to GM. Will they be selling all of Saturn's parts supplies, or will those stay with GM for Chev dealers to do Saturn warranty and service work? Will they be selling any manufacturing plants? Those are owned by GM, not Saturn. Are they only selling the Saturn name? What's that worth? Doesn't seem like they have a lot to sell to some upstart company.
A good point.

What exactly is GM trying to sell here?

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Old 05-16-2009, 09:03 AM   #13
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

>IMO GM would not want to choose a buyer for Saturn that has the best chance to be a competitor.
The best business choice would be someone who probably doesn't have a chance to make Saturn successful.

I think this post misses the point: namely that GM is not hostile to Saturn,Pontiac,Hummer, or Opel. The current crisis -- a short term financial problem when the fixed costs (of white collar engineering/finance/design) + (labor-wages/legacy-benefits) + (rent/taxes on plants) + (scheduled payments to suppliers) + (scheduled financial payments to stockholders , bondholders , and now the US gov't) simply temporarily exceed the profits generated by diminished sales -- requires/necessitates some action to stem the losses. The agreed-upon appropriate response involves 'downsizing/rightsizing' consistent with the longterm shrinking marketshare of the BigThree [this at least decreases the fixed costs proportionately].

None of these considerations precludes GM from increasing/resurging its marketshare in the future [although the secular trend of decreasing marketshare is troubling]. GM's Volt project is a big step forward. The Saturn Division (and arguably Opel as well) are steps forward which are being sacrificed in view of general corporate overcapacity. In other words , GM has bigger problems INTERNALLY now in its 'legacy' corporate/financial structure , than competitors pose externally {as the recently demonstrated instability of the financial infrastructure illustrates quite graphically}.

It is true that Saturn may be a daunting competitor in future, but that is not the issue now. It is true that , before the days of 'foreign import' manufacturers (Honda, etc) , the BigThree sometimes crushed domestic competitors. More recently , the BigThree have been remarkably unwieldy in their efforts to rightsize , and very nurturing to most component entities. I do harbor concerns that a Californian enterprise ('Tesla-Cheapo') might become so successful as to marginalise the BigThree... , but i think the timeline is beyond a few years.

Last edited by TomM96; 05-16-2009 at 09:04 AM.. Reason: spelling

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Old 05-16-2009, 09:39 AM   #14
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

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None of these considerations precludes GM from increasing/resurging its marketshare in the future [although the secular trend of decreasing marketshare is troubling]. GM's Volt project is a big step forward. The Saturn Division (and arguably Opel as well) are steps forward which are being sacrificed in view of general corporate overcapacity.
There is now a potential big hole in GMs branding strategy to fill the gap left by Saturn/Pontiac/Opel. GM had been trying to reposition Saturn to address a more upscale and sporty, but less than luxury market that exists somewhere between Chevy and Buick. With only Chevy, Buick and Cadillac left it will be very interesting to see which brand image GM tries to broaden and whether consumers will buy into it.

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Old 05-16-2009, 02:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: Details of a 5th Bidder Emerges, Intention is to Make Saturn a Different Kind of

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Is GM running out of time?
Lets see, last month there were 1,800 delalerships of GM and Chrysler that had a future. This month, there are 1,800 soon-to-be vacant ones. Saturn's dealer network is 380ish. The network is worth a lot less now than it was last month and it wasn't worth much last month. The old supply and demand laws come into play & this ain't panning out very well for GM.

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