GM: Saturn Closing "Not a Setback"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Today’s This morning’s GM WTF moment comes to us from CNN’s Assignment Detroit. It’s a damning report on GM’s post-bankruptcy travails, penned by veteran auto industry scribe Chris Isodore. You may remember Chris as the reporter to whom I recently gave shit about not giving a shit about GM’s refusal to release a secret list of closed dealers. Which TTAC’s number cruncher eventually created. Which all but the Orlando Sentinel ignored. Anyway, props to Isodore for doing a little barrel fish shooting, unearthing yet more disquieting factoids about your friendly neighborhood nationalized automaker. For example, “GM will now have to pay Saturn dealers between $100,000 and $1 million each to wind down, which will cost the company more than $100 million . . . GM spokesman John McDonald said that the company never counted on avoiding payments to dealers through a Saturn sale. So the collapse of the Saturn deal is not a setback.” Wait; what about the GM mothership’s lost volume/market share? Hope and change baby!

McDonald added that the company hopes to produce the same number of vehicles for its other brands that it would have if it was still making Saturns. GM has Chevrolet and Buick offerings that are similar to most Saturn models.

Saturn was small beer you say? Ja nir.

Saturn’s industrywide [sic] market share has fallen to a record low of less than 1% this year as buyers avoided the endangered brand and GM cut back on marketing efforts. But Saturn still accounted for about 4% of GM’s total sales in 2009. So any slip in sales could hurt GM at a time when it is struggling to end a period of market share declines in the U.S.

Could? Anyway, Chris goes on to highlight the fact that Opel’s sale will screw GM’s ability to create competitive products [paraphrasing, generalizing, teasing]. And he reveals the attitude that makes New GM such an old failure.

GM’s McDonald insists that missing the target date to close the [HUMMER] deal is not necessarily a sign that there are problems. “Especially when dealing with an international buyer, missing a deadline is not uncommon,” he said.

Sure. So what’s the bet HUMMER goes the way of Saturn? If Saturn’s demise will cost GM $100 million, much will it cost GM to extricate itself from the HUMMER boondoggle? Ten million here, ten million there, and soon you’re talking about real tax payer money. Again. Still. Again. [thanks to gslippy for the link]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Oct 07, 2009

    Steven02 Why did GM recently quietly reduce the drive train components that are covered by their so called "excellent drive train warranty"? Gee, they excluded all the expensive parts in the fine print. Just wait for New GM car owners to find out they have been screwed again by GM when they bring their cars in for warranty service for things like problems with the electronics, fuel system, or clutch. Read about it here:

  • Power6 Power6 on Oct 08, 2009
    Neons were built in Illinois, 1999 Neons were built in Mexico with 60 cent an hour wages. Menno, your '98 Neon could have been built in Mexico. According to Allpar they were built in Toluca, Mexico (*as well as* Belverdere, IL) from 1995-1999. My '04 SRT-4 was built in Belvedere. And Chrysler made money on those little angry bees too! I know it is nit-picking, but it takes away from your argument if you don't have the facts straight, you start to sound like the "all american cars use all chinese parts" uninformed masses. Not that it isn't bad in Michigan, and not that the Caliber isn't junk no matter where they build it.
  • Ronin The very asking of the question "Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future?" is an interesting one. Because just 2 or 3 years ago we'd be asking- no, asserting- that E cars are the future. We're no longer asking that question.
  • Peter Benn There apparently were some K-code 4-dr sedan Fairlanes. Collectible Automobile Apr 2024 has found a '63 500 with HD 3/spd.
  • Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.