Possible Sale for Sky and Saturn?
Up to this point, there has been relatively little interest in any of the three of the brands GM says it definitely needs to sell or eliminate in order to survive. Hummer has been for sale for almost a year and Saab is sure to follow. However, this past week a private equity firm, Black Oak Partners, has come forward as potential new owner of GM’s Saturn, offering to keep the brand and its dealership network intact.
Black Oak is owned by the family of auto dealer Bob Moore and Bob Moore Auto Group which owns 17 new-car franchises, including two Saturn dealerships. Selling Saturn would help GM avoid expenses associated with closing Saturn, save thousands of jobs and shore up even more loses due to the dealerships that would fold. Even without a sale GM announced in early December that it would stop producing vehicles for Saturn after the 2011 model year and would gradually shelf the brand if it didn’t find a buyer before that time. It also said it would seek to sell Swedish brand Saab in the near future.
The long term plans by Black Oak would include importing vehicles not currently sold in the U.S. including cars from China or India, and rebadging models with the Saturn name. This is not unlike the present line of vehicles, many of which are essentially Opel automobiles. Because Saturn’s manufacturing facilities are almost completely absorbed within the greater GM family, some industry experts question the feasibility of selling and extracting the Saturn line from the within the umbrella of GM. Another possible bidder for Saturn is French automaker Peugeot.