Saturn Dealers Might Want to Study Smart

June 2, 2009

1 Min Read
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Amidst the frenzied activity surrounding General Motors's bankruptcy filing yesterday, Saturn also filed chapter 11.

Saturn Spokesman Steve Janisse tells me the filing should not impact the potential sale of the brand either postiively or negatively.

Technically, that may be true, but with Saturn in bankruptcy, it probably is easier for the brand to eliminate dealerships. Recent media reports regarding Roger Penske's involvemnt with Saturn confirm what I've been hearing for a couple of months.

Sources tell me Penske is investigating a partnership with Nissan Renault to sell Korean-built Renault Samsung vehicles in the U.S. using the Saturn retail network.

It's likely that Penske, who already distributes Smart, needs signifcantly fewer dealerships to sell Samsungs than Saturn's current 384. I'm guessing here, but if Penske and Carlos Ghosn decide to pull the trigger on the deal, Saturn could lose anywhere from 130 to 150 dealers in the next couple of months.

So if you're a Saturn dealer, you might want to study the Smart distribution model and its dealerships -- you know, just in case.

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