Saturn Spins Spin-Off: "Informal Inquiries"
The Detroit News is reporting that Presidential Task Force on Automobiles (PTFOA) is ready to float some trial balloons—I mean, announce part of its master plan for “saving” the U.S. auto industry. The News reckons the PTFOA will place the cart before the horse, revealing its bailout strategy for the domestics’ suppliers sometime this week. Then they’ll unveil the new new bailout arrangement to fund GM’s new new new new new new new turnaround plan and, believe it or not, Chrysler’s mythological recovery strategy. Meanwhile, Saturn’s keepers are busy pre-stretching the limits of credibility.
Speaking to Automotive News [sub], Steve Girsky, “long-time industry consultant leading GM’s task force” (so many task forces, so few tens of billions), claimed he’d had informal talk (casual dress Friday?) with competitors interested in acquiring Saturn’s brand/dealer network. Girsky declined to name which automakers have talked to the group.
If that doesn’t smell to high heaven, how about the plan Girsky outlined for the all-too-credible news org.
The spin-off would offer car manufacturers an opportunity to build vehicles in under-used GM assembly plants or provide a ready-made U.S. distribution network for their products, Girsky said.
The spin-off could count on Saturn’s current vehicle lineup through 2011, Girsky said. Ideally, the new company would want to begin bringing in additional product from GM or others before that time, he said.
They would all sell under the Saturn brand. To keep a family resemblance for vehicles possibly coming from a variety of automakers, the new company could have light design capability, he said.
Here’s the kicker:
Several carmakers already market vehicles made by competitors, Girsky said. Chrysler LLC, for example, is making Volkswagen AG’s Routan minivan.
When your plan for a brand’s salvation is modeled after a single product that fell flat on its face in the marketplace, disgracing all concerned, you might as well close up shop and go home. Well, if it weren’t for that big, fat, taxpayer-funded consultancy fee.
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