The fire sale initiated for Saturn and Pontiac cars for the December sales, has aroused the curiosity of many, this has been stated by two Pontiac dealers on Wednesday. General Motors has announced $7000 rebate on every Pontiac or Saturn Manufactured car that moves for rental or service fleet. Some dealers are not entirely sure that this is a good deal. The idea is to increase the sales by inducing buyers with lower rates. This decision to suddenly hike up the sales of Pontiac and Saturn cars has been made since General Motors has decided to bring an end to their nameplate, despite a major amount of restructuring done this year. General Motors deal with Penske Automobile Group regarding the sale of Saturn nameplate has also fallen through.
The factory rebate for Pontiac’s new models has already reached $6500, according to Fred Ferrara, General sales manager of Fairborn Buick Pontiac, GMC. He has also stated that the rebate will only apply if the cars are moved into the rental or service fleets for thirty days or thirty thousand miles. There are chances of making higher savings regarding taxes with brand new cars as compared to used cars. This has led to consumers invest in a new car instead for tax savings. Ferrara currently has only one Pontiac G6 coupe left on his lot. The remaining model will also sell in a short period of time. Buicks and GMC cars have also now picked up on the sales. Owner of Reichard Buick Pontiac GMC in Dayton, Gene Reichard claims that this fire sale has generated a lot of interest since it is a good offer. In two months, Reichard has sold 130 cars of Pontiac make. Buyers are not availing $6500 factory rebate, but also an additional $7000 rebate as well.
The decision to close down the GM brand, Saturn, by the company after the attempt to sell it to Penske Automotive Group fell through, came as a major disappointment to the people in the small town of Spring Hill, Tennessee.
The first car of the brand Saturn, a red S-Series that was launched in 1990 is still kept for display in the factory premises. The factory and the town have hosted many tours and reunions for the Saturn car owners as a part of their promotion programs. The City Hall has the walls decorated with the photographs of the old town of Spring Hill before and after the arrival of the brand, Saturn, depicting an era of development.
The residents and the Mayor credit GM’s Saturn for the major developments the town has witnessed over the period. But later, the locals saw GM rolling off Saturn from Tennessee in 2007 to replace it with the building of Chevrolet Traverse that is now on its way out. The company has made plans to transfer the production of Traverse to a plant in Michigan, closing down the Spring Hill factory.
This decision of the General Motors to wind up the factory has left the residents in a state of perplexity. A few, who had remained hopeful of Penske’s ability to revive the brand, were unable to understand its decision to pull away from the deal. Others are still in a shock over the fall of the auto giant GM that can leave many locals jobless. One of the local residents put the blame on the federal government calling it responsible for the fall of the automotive industry in the country.
The locals are also wishing for a revival of the economy that can put back the things to its normal state. To quote a resident, Dinwiddie, who is confident of the future of Spring Hill, “I have to believe the plant is going to come back. It all depends on the overall economy. I hope that Americans start buying American products and start supporting the American auto manufacturing industry and if that happens, we’ll get a product in this plant.” He has sent invitations to President Obama and the auto recovery czar to have a tour of the plant, which he thinks will result in it being operational.
Whatever be the future of the plant in Spring Hill, residents are sure of their ability to wade through the times of misery.
The year was 1990 when Bob Maguire, started selling Saturn vehicles in Bordentown, NJ, they were the first on the board to open the dealership when Saturn contacted them in 1989 and adds now it is time too think of new business with GM announcement of Saturn closing down.
Bob Maguire says his two Saturn dealerships at Bordentown and Toms River will continue to be open and sell. Maguire, the co-owner of Maguire Auto Group quips, I will try to cultivate new business and confident that something will come up soon.”
With the announcement by General Motors of wind down of Saturn vehicles after the acquisition deal with Penske Automotive failed, it left 350 Saturn dealers across the country have been left in the lurch and trying to find exit strategies including Bob and Marcy Maguire for themselves and also for the workers. The on going events and trends means almost definite death of Saturn brand that was set up by Saturn to fight against the Japanese imports in the 1990’s and currently it is estimated around 13,000 jobs are at stake.
The exact business plan is still vague, and the steps being taken after the shutdown of Saturn operations in October 2010 is still being formulated, but for one thing, the business will be as usual. We are looking for new business and selling new Saturn vehicles to anyone who is interested to purchase the last ones in the breed. He does not close out the option of shutting down the two dealerships at Bordentown and Toms River a year from now and is keeping all options open. Currently the two dealerships employ 25 people each. Maguire further adds that it is not is ambition to close down the dealerships, but would be forced if no viable options come up and says they still provide gainful employment to all their workers.
Saturn launched in 1990 with its own exclusive tag line, “A different kind of Car Company” gained popularity in America by their low-key showrooms and no-haggle pricing. General Motor had launched Saturn with the hope that with the dent free plastic panels, it would attract the young generation with the hipper cars. It built the Saturn plant at Springhill, TN devoted to Saturn vehicles.
Although it attracted and drew huge crowds, the brand could never make enough money, although it was never disclosed how much the company made profit on the Saturn brand.
The Saturn customers brand base we have, have their culture of their own and there were never a customer that was unhappy with their Saturn vehicle they purchased from us and sadly it’s true.
The closedown events have come as a shock to everyone. GM had even agreed to keep 3 models running beyond 2011 and after which Penske have had to come up with their own products made by any other manufacturer.
There is very little hope that talks could be reopened without another supplier in place before the deal was signed according to Anthony Pordon, a Penske spokesperson. It would take several years to design new vehicles, especially foreign vehicles which meet US standards and Penske would beat risk selling no products once the contract with GM expires.
The production of new Saturn vehicles will be stopped as soon as possible. But no layouts are expected according to Sherrie Childers, GM spokeswoman. The Saturn owners can still go to their dealers for servicing and will be able to go to certified GM dealers once the Saturn dealerships close down.
Maguire said it was even true for his NJ dealerships. They would continue to be in business and would take care of Saturn customers who are in need of servicing. The close down announcement has come as surprise to everyone. In this damn economy it is difficult to forecast anything but we are doing the best as we can, according to Bob Maguire.
GM had asked all their Saturn dealers to wind up the dealership network and confirmed the news that there is no deal taking place between Penske Automotive.
Penske in his statement cleared that the deal is off as Renault’s board of partner rejected the deal for supplying spare parts for the Saturn car. This could lead to a potential risk and uncertainty as to who will make sure the availability of future products, leaving no room to move ahead.
The Saturn deal was agreed upon by GM and Penske in view of automaker’s bankruptcy filing in the month of June. In July, GM came out with a court protection and stated that the agreement with Penske is aimed at preserving dealerships and avoiding job cuts.
But with the non availability of permission from Renault, the future is not secure for the availability of products, hence the deal is called off by Roger Penske and GM.
GM will continue the process of winding up through October 2010 with an approved agreement between the dealers. The company also informed that customers will be able to buy new cars and service their vehicles at the Saturn dealers until the process is completed. After the process of through, customers can service their Saturn at other dealership agencies.
Saturn the car created by Roger Smith, Chairman, GM to show the Japanese that US can beat them in small car soil. In 1990 Saturn found a strong market and positioned itself in a different small car segment. And in 1994, the sales peaked up heavily.
But with the financial turmoil, Saturn is now losing market and is on the verge of losing its identity.
Roger Penske, 72, had proposed to take up the challenge and keep the brand alive, by asking for retailing rights from GM and later on produce the same at his own setup. Things were moving on track, but with non availability of spare parts and an exclusive agreement of Renault with GM, made it difficult for Penske to keep the balls rolling and the deal comes to an end in a very surprising manner.
GM had agreed Penske to continue their support for 3 Saturn models – Aura, Vue and Outlook for another 2 more years. Then, Penske needs to put together a new portfolio for products.
GM as per their plan had started closing their units in Mexico, Michigan for Vue and Outlook respectively.
Penske is known for his revival strategy and had already rescued GM’s Detroit Diesel Corp 2 decades ago and now its Saturn.
Dealers and employees are hopeful that the deal revives for Saturn and the business takes place. In a comment made by John Pitre, Genera Manager Saturn Bakersfield, “If Penske didn’t think it would work, then it won’t work.
September month was a difficult one for the GM vehicle sales; all the dealership was low in retail as well as certified car sales. GM sales volumes were low in comparison with month-over-month and year-over-year sales figures. GM had lost 36% volume in a month; the total car sale was 156,673 in the month across US market.
The company had launched new marketing campaigns to boost the sales for their core brands and non core brands. The two major launch were Pre-Cash for Clunkers and 60 Days Satisfaction Guarantee program.
It has helped the leader manufacturer to manage the show for this quarter. Vice President Sales, Mark, confirmed that the month was very tough for the company, but we are enthusiastic about the fourth quarter, the market is now taking shape and growing with new brands and campaign launch.
GM had lost grounds on their certified car segment as well. Their Saturn, Cadillac, Saab and Hummer Certified pre-owned vehicles combined sales was 22,885 vehicles in the month of September.
GM certified used vehicle sales were 34% down from last month, a total of 19,877 vehicles down. In Saturn used car the downfall is of 15% with a sales volume of 692 vehicles. Cadillac certified used vehicles sold 1819 vehicles, a down run of 44%, Hummer following the trend fallen 30% with 135 vehicles being sold.
Mark LaNeve shared his customer satisfaction survey data, showing, GM ranks high on value for money, brand name and dealer reputation. Quality is the main power play in the industry and GM is leading all fronts.
GM was in talk with Penske for their Saturn brand supply and production. Penske Automotive is a very reputed and large player in automobile industry. GM, the creator of Saturn brand cars, is now dealing with Penske for retail supply chain and once the contract gets over, Penske will take over the production facility for the same.
This whole negotiation had gained much hype and there were 350 dealers who have registered for their Saturn dealership and service agencies. The deal was a much sought after deal in the automobile industry. But all of a sudden the deal broke off and left dealers stranded with no future option left apart from quit.
The breaking of deal had created 13000 US job cuts and dealers looking for new dealership. But within their own self, the dealers are still hopeful that the deal might kick off once again. As, Roger Penske, is a very smart man and will not pursue any matter, unless there is a point in it.
Such optimist views are widespread among the dealers, but today the news stands that the GM and Penske deal is down.
If the current speculations would come true, Renault SA, renowned French Automaker could be a source for Saturn vehicles and parts for the emerging US auto magnate Roger Penske.
It has been finally concluded by Renault that chairman from Penske automotive group has approached them to supply vehicles and parts according to a spokeswoman from Paris, but did not give any details on the proposal. She did further add that this deal would be exclusively Renault deal and would not involve Nissan Motor Co, global Renault partner. This difference would make lot of impact for Saturn and Nissan dealers in North America because Saturn and Nissan has a strong competitive market in the US and moreover, Renault does not sell vehicles in United States and has not market in North America.
In 1985, most American consumers were attracted to Japanese brands such as Honda and Nissan, so to attract American consumers, General Motor created the Saturn brand. The tie up between Penske, Saturn and Renault has been in speculation for long time. Penske is already on the last phase to acquire Saturn from the General Motor and hopes to finalize the deal by end of September. The deal does not include any manufacturing resources.
According to a Penske Automotive spokesman, the provisional agreement with GM is to produce and supply vehicles to Penske for two years. The deal would be more of a “OEM “deal with no long term strings attached. On parallel side, Penske has been talking to different auto manufacturers for vehicle production and parts.
Some of the OEM deals are, Renault to supply light commercial vehicles to Fiat and General Motor. Nissan OEM deal with Chrysler to provide Tiida small car to sell in South America.
With Roger Penske’s pending purchase of Saturn from GM, it could be the beginning of the biggest change in how vehicles are sold. When the purchase is made final Penske will be able to shop around globally for the lowest cost auto maker to build his vehicles quickly. Fast turnarounds and lower costs could keep it profitable in brutal times. “What if we’re first? What if we win this race?” Marcy Maguire of Saturn of Bordentown and Saturn of Toms River said in response to low-cost, fuel-efficient vehicles. Marcy Maguire, a director of the National Automobile Dealers Association, foresees “fresh, distinctive” Saturns “from whatever area of the world” that can build to suit. “We live in a global community and buyers don’t seem to care who makes a car if it suits their needs. It truly is revolutionary.”
With Roger Penske’s pending purchase of Saturn from GM, it could be the beginning of the biggest change in how vehicles are sold. When the purchase is made final Penske will be able to shop around globally for the lowest cost auto maker to build his vehicles quickly. Fast turnarounds and lower costs could keep it profitable in brutal times. “What if we’re first? What if we win this race?” Marcy Maguire of Saturn of Bordentown and Saturn of Toms River said in response to low-cost, fuel-efficient vehicles. Marcy Maguire, a director of the National Automobile Dealers Association, foresees "fresh, distinctive" Saturns "from whatever area of the world" that can build to suit. "We live in a global community and buyers don’t seem to care who makes a car if it suits their needs. It truly is revolutionary.”
Saturn of Bordentown and Saturn of Toms River are proud to be a part of Saturn and the new Penske team
Roger Penske who is known for his successful racing teams and also being the nation’s second-largest auto dealer, has made a deal to buy Saturn from General Motors. As for the future plans of Saturn, Roger Penske says this, “We have a couple years of supply from GM, and one of the first jobs for us will be to find out who will be a partner for us. But the great thing is we get to look on a worldwide basis to people who have the best product that we can compete with in the U.S. Then the goal will be, obviously, to have the volume so that it’s viable to come in and manufacture the product in the U.S. So step one: Take GM product. That saves jobs in the plant. It gives them the opportunity to (make) more saturn cars to cover their fixed and variable costs because Saturn will be taking (on) those. Then we take a look at who’s out there that wants to enter the United States and we give them a great base of dealerships, a customer base and hopefully a good management team. And after that, we have the opportunity to manufacture cars here with the particular partner we would choose in the near-term.”
Roger Penske who is known for his successful racing teams and also being the nation’s second-largest auto dealer, has made a deal to buy Saturn from General Motors. As for the future plans of Saturn, Roger Penske says this, “We have a couple years of supply from GM, and one of the first jobs for us will be to find out who will be a partner for us. But the great thing is we get to look on a worldwide basis to people who have the best product that we can compete with in the U.S. Then the goal will be, obviously, to have the volume so that it’s viable to come in and manufacture the product in the U.S. So step one: Take GM product. That saves jobs in the plant. It gives them the opportunity to (make) more cars to cover their fixed and variable costs because Saturn will be taking (on) those. Then we take a look at who’s out there that wants to enter the United States and we give them a great base of dealerships, a customer base and hopefully a good management team. And after that, we have the opportunity to manufacture cars here with the particular partner we would choose in the near-term.”