California Autos Examiner

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Abandoning Ship? Saturn Dealers Leave the Building

Just like Elvis, many Saturn dealers are choosing to head for the exits. Just how bad is it? Well, just looking at 2009 alone there were 420 Saturn dealers on January 1, 405 on February 15 and 384 on April 6*. That's a pretty precipitous decline. Okay, VERY precipitous.

I'm not sure that Saturn can do much to stop the slide, either. There are no new products and when it comes to Saturn's future, you'd have a better chance of seeing what was at the bottom of a freshly stomped mud puddle.

I've lamented on Saturn's fortunes before, so I won't do it again. If you want a nice history of the brand and its decline, check out this great article over at Newsweek. To be honest, there isn't that much to save at this point. Almost all of Saturn's vehicles are available at other GM dealerships. The more dealers that drop off the map, the less that GM has to pay off later.

Saturn dealers are being courted by companies such as the North American distributor for India's Mahindra. GM reportedly approached Global Vehicles USA Inc about selling Mahindra's trucks at Saturn dealerships, but GV had no interest, instead it will just cherry pick the dealers that it wants.

While there is a chance that Saturn will find a way to carry on, more than likely it will slip off into a heavily incentivized slumber not unlike that of Isuzu's recent exit from the U.S. passenger vehicle market.

* stats taken from automotive news article.

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