Friday, November 13, 2009

General Motors will hold off sending Saturn parts to all dealerships

As Saturn stores are winding down their businesses, General Motors Co. has decided to hold off its plan to send Saturn parts to all GM dealerships in mid-November.

Putting this off retains the exclusivity of Saturn stores, according to John Pitre, general manager of Motor City Auto Center in Bakersfield, Calif. GM had initially told Saturn dealers that it would start distributing parts for the brand’s vehicles to all GM dealerships by mid-November. But now, it’s unclear when those dealerships will get Saturn parts.

Meanwhile, GM has said it wants dealers to sell the remaining 9,400 Saturn vehicles in stock by early next year. To help out dealers, GM has launched a new marketing campaign and incentives to sell the remaining Saturns.

It can be recalled that after a deal to sell Saturn to Penske Automotive Group fell through in October, GM decided to wind down the brand. Pitre, who has 51 Saturn vehicles in stock, said that the dealers are in a holding pattern.

He surmised that it will take six months to locate and secure another franchise for that facility so he aims to keep the business running for that amount of time. Susan Docherty, GMA’s vice-president of U.S. sales, said that it means the brand could be wound down in three months.