By on February 23, 2009

I’m not much of a biblical scholar, but I did see Schwarzenegger’s End of Days. All sorts of weird shit happened before Arnie finally sent the devil packing. As we head down the home stretch for the auto industry reckoning, there’s some odd stuff percolating-up in the autoblogosphere. To wit: TheDetroitBureau.com’s suggestion that a newly independent Saturn or Saab should consider adding examples of HUMMER’s strategically doomed product line to their freshly liberated (or not) portfolio. Michael Strong makes the weak argument. Cross yourself and we’ll continue.

That said, in an unconvincing effort to prove that he’s not totally lost his grip on the concept known as “credibility,” Strong pins the whole thing on Motown mouthpiece Eric Merkle. “While Hummer is unlikely to move out on its own because of its limited lineup could GM convince an independent Saturn or Saab to take on its sibling as the “truck business” portion of their portfolio? ‘That’s not a bad idea,’ said Erich Merkle, an independent automotive analyst. ‘It would give Saturn a complete lineup.'”

It may also present a savvy buyer with just what it needs to make a move: a full service car company, including a well-run dealer network, at a bargain price, Merkle noted. He guessed the sale price at somewhere between “Hummer and what is Ford asking for Volvo? $5.5 billion? It’s a great time to move if you’re a buyer, but throwing Hummer in on the deal could be a great opportunity for someone,” Merkle said . . .

However, Merkle speculates that neither Saturn nor Saab would be interested in adding the entire Hummer lineup as it ventures out into the automotive world. Hummer carries with it some baggage that makes it difficult to tag on to two brands that are viewed as gas sippers, at least when compared with Hummer; however, if the largest of the Hummer lineup were eliminated, it could be much more appealing.

Note to Strong: HUMMER is all caps, like MINI only larger. Oh, and the world as you knew it is dead.

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19 Comments on ““Voice of the Automotive World”: Combine HUMMER, Saturn and/or Saab...”


  • avatar
    Jared

    Idiotic idea. First off, combining two or three money losing car companies doesn’t make a winner. Second, Saturn isn’t a car company — Saturn doesn’t have engineers, plants, warehouses, etc. Saturn is simply a collection of dealership contracts. Third, the type of people who buy Saturns and Saabs wouldn’t be caught dead in a Hummer dealership — they despise everything that Hummer stands for.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Why do all the domestic auto journalists ignore Opel? Saturn / Saab / Opel actually makes fair amount of sense (ignoring the huge government guarantees that would be required to put that together).

  • avatar
    KixStart

    HUMMER, Saturn and SAAB?

    That suggestion is sooo inadequate. Allow me to propose:

    HUMMER, Saturn and SAAB and Chrysler.

    Now we got somethin’!

  • avatar
    new caledonia

    I added it up in Excel: zero sales plus zero sales plus zero sales equals zero sales.

    So much for that idea.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    Why do all the domestic auto journalists ignore Opel? Saturn / Saab / Opel / Vauxhall actually makes fair amount of sense (ignoring the huge government guarantees that would be required to put that together).

    Speaking of forgetting things…

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    One more, also in need of government handouts: Saturn / Saab / Opel / Vauxhall / GMDAT

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Isn’t Vauxhall just the peculiar way the Brits spell “Opel”?

    Let’s throw Holden in there too…

  • avatar
    billc83

    Hell, while we’re at it, let’s find the guy who owns the Packard name and really make this a package deal.

  • avatar
    tom

    What is Opel supposed to do with Saturn? They couldn’t possibly import their cars into the US at a profit.
    Only if GM throws in its Fairfax plant could there even be hope for a profit…somewhere far away in the future. But until then, a lot of capital would be needed, something Opel is in desperate need of itself.

    As for Saab, forget about it. AFAIK, they haven’t even sold 100k cars in 2008. They’d be a money drain for everybody who dares to buy them for a long time.

    And I won’t even mention Hummer, as this is just too ridiculous.

  • avatar

    Yes, because when swimming away from a sinking ship, a good thing to grab on to is a cinder block.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    A mess is a mess, by any other name.

    “Should I stay or should I go?” – will be the new company song, then?

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    In a spin off senario, Opel could well use Saturn as a way into the US market. Without GM, Opel wouldn’t sell here. A rebadge and existing dealer network would be required.

    Nobody (except TTAC members) buys SAAB. It seems this is the only place on Earth that anyone actually likes them. However, with Swedish financing, Opel might make a go of it.

    HUMMER could provide a truck platform and technology, especially if the price of gas stays down and even better if Chrysler and/or GM go under. Americans will still want trucks. Only For and Toyota remaining would open the door for “A New Kind of Truck Company” (TM)

    (You read it here first, I want royalties if it happens!)

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    This idea is so stupid that it shouldn’t even be commented upon. Damn! Tricked again!

    Oh well, while I’m here, Even before the economy went off a cliff, there was a worldwide capacity glut in the auto industry. We have been reading about it for years. SOMEBODY has to go away and take all of their excess capacity with them. Just reshuffling ownership of the smaller players does nothing (well, next to nothing. At least they get away from GM disease.) Ditto subsidies from government to keep the mortally injured companies on the field long enough for someone else’s favorite to die. There is not enough demand out there to support all of the present players.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Is it just me or is there a quiet desperation seeping out that something, anything, must be done with these dead brands. SAAB, Hummer, Saturn, Pontiac, Mercury (more to come for sure).

    A fair number of people seem to be under the impression that there is no other option then to reorganize these vehicle product lines so that they will live on – business as usual.

    Marketing and business model wise – these brands have been dead for years – and people pretended that it was not so. Now we’ve reached a tipping point and it’s a challenge to accept this economic fact.

    Interesting stuff.

  • avatar
    Axel

    @Jared

    Third, the type of people who buy bought Saturns and Saabs wouldn’t be caught dead in a Hummer dealership

    There, fixed that for you. :)

  • avatar
    Axel

    How about this for a plan:

    1. Purchase Saab/Opel/HUMMER/Saturn from GM, liberating them from GM’s vast mountain of liabilities.

    2. Keep the lights on, producing ~250k units a year, at a (relatively) small loss.

    3. Wait for GM and Chrysler to die, and the economy to turn around.

    4. Ramp up production and invade the market vacuum.

    5. PROFIT!

    And that’s not even considering 2a.: beg for government-backed loans from Stockholm, Berlin, D.C., and Nashville.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    One commenter thought Hummer might be someone’s truck line. Hmm, how many Hummers have you seen pulling anything at all? A horse trailer? Even a little teardrop house trailer? Or carrying anything besides well-dressed human bodies?

    Yeah, I thought so.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Three anchors do not make a boat.

    Maybe “Red Line” Saturns could get Hummer V8s, and “Green Line” Hummers could get Saturn 4s. And Saabs could just be loss-leaders to get people in the door.

    Yech.

  • avatar
    Jonathon

    “Note to Strong: HUMMER is all caps, like MINI only larger.”

    No, it’s not. That’s just the way they do their logo. Hummer is not an acronym or initialism and thus does not get the all-caps treatment except in the company’s own promotional material. And anyway, note that Saab and Saturn, as well as many other companies, also frequently use all-caps, but that doesn’t mean that’s the way they should be written. Bill Walsh, a copy editor for the Washington Post, has written a good little essay on the issue.

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