America's Unluckiest Car Dealer: From Saturn To Saab

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
america s unluckiest car dealer from saturn to saab

Tom Carpenter, co-owner of Auto Center Southeast in Groveport, OH, had three Saturn dealerships. In 2009, GM euthanized Saturn, and Carpenter had to look for new cars to sell. Now, he is looking again.

Last August, Carpenter signed up for a Saab franchise. Carpenter “was aware of the manufacturer’s financial concerns but thought it was on solid ground,” says the Columbus Dispatch. Saab’s production lines had not been moving since April.

That enormous leap of faith was unrewarded. In December, Saab filed for bankruptcy. Carpenter was “not ready to say the brand is dead,” wrote the paper last December. Carpenter joined the ranks of the Saab faithful who hoped for a white knight.

On January 23, Saab Cars North America was liquidated. Saab of Columbus has 18 new Saabs on the lot, and 2 used ones. In a final closeout sale, no reasonable offer will be refused.

Scott Carpenter is looking for new cars to sell. For the second time in two years.

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6 of 74 comments
  • Joe McKinney Joe McKinney on Jan 27, 2012

    The Saturn dealership in my hometown is closed and the property is for sale. This location was previously occupied by the local AMC dealer. Over the years a bunch of orphan brands were sold here - Rambler, AMC, Renault, Eagle and Saturn.

  • Rental Man Rental Man on Jan 28, 2012

    When Saturn was closing shop I saw some Kia Borrego apear on the grass of Saturn of West Nyack, NY. Being that the only other 2009 Kia Borrego were just sitting in Port Newark, NJ for months (until Enterprise RAC just took them all) I had a feeling they were not waiting for GM to sell Saturn to Penske and just went and got the 1st shingle avalible. Fast forward Saturn is gone and Kia was the best thing that place could have hoped for. I'm still sad about SAAB. Never had one of my own. There is something about them.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 28, 2012

    My local megadealer used to be the largest Pontiac dealer in the world. They also sold Saturn, Hummer, Oldsmobile, and yes, Saab. But don't worry, they also sell Hyundai, Subaru, Kia, Nissan, Infiniti, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Volkswagen, and Fiat (hmmm). But these are not all centrally located. Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru helped them survive Carmageddon 2009. It's worth noting that they even had a special Hummer building constructed, and I'm sure they paid handsomely for the Fiat franchise. However, the Fiat lot is where they used to have Subaru. They have an interesting habit of relocating the dealerships for certain brands. Their Subaru and Hyundai locations have all been in at least 3 places. The only thing I've ever bought from them is repair parts... maybe a whole car someday.

    • Geozinger Geozinger on Jan 30, 2012

      Oh man, the old Cochran Pontiac! I remember that place. An old girlfriend bought her first new car there. It was a Pontiac Firebird Sun Bird. All yellow. Inside and out, event the snowflake wheels.

  • Jeff_vader Jeff_vader on Jan 29, 2012

    No sympathy from me I'm afraid. Anyone could have seen that Muller was never going to make Saab work, so to tie your wagon that particular one trick pony was never going to be a good idea.