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Foreign automakers showing interest in Saturn?

by Andrew Ganz

It appears that efforts by a group of important Saturn dealers have paid off: General Motors has apparently received some "informal" inquiries from unnamed foreign automakers about taking over the Saturn brand. The dealers pressed GM to study the feasibility of spinning off the ill-fated brand, which the Detroit automaker says it will close by 2011.

An industry consultant hired by GM to shop around the Saturn brand, Steve Girsky, told Automotive News that his team is now studying the viability of spinning off the entire brand to keep it viable for the more than 400 Saturn dealers operating across North America.

A potential suitor would gain access to building Saturn vehicles in under-utilized GM plants, which would, by our estimation, keep costs down for a third party and keep GM's union workers employed.

The spun-off Saturn would likely keep its current lineup through 2011. Girsky didn't name any suitors, but said he has had some interest from GM competitors, including foreign manufacturers.