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Foreign Interest in Saturn Spin-Off

Posted: 03/18/2009 - 12:40 PM ET

Automotive News is reporting that an undisclosed group of automakers, including foreign manufacturers, have approached the group studying a potential spin-off of Saturn from General Motors about selling their products under the Saturn brand.

The industry consultant leading the task force for GM, Steve Girsky, has termed the inquiries "informal" to this point, but such a move would give car manufacturers the chance to build their vehicles in under-used assembly plants or to utilize a ready-made distribution network in the U.S. for their products.

Girsky added that a spin-off would count on the current lineup of Saturn vehicles through 2011, with new products being produced before that time to be sold under the Saturn brand.

While the talks are still too rudimentary to seek potential investors, Girsky said General Motors would likely require dealers participating in such a newly formed company to release GM legally from a degree of the expense related to closing the brand.

In addition to Girsky, the task force includes Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak, four Saturn dealers, and Sanjeev Khatri, former General Motors Acceptance Corp CFO. The group expects to have completed its work by the end of April, at which time more details about Saturn's fate will be disclosed.

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