Oracle of Delphi

GM Studies Killing Saab, Saturn, Pontiac

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Automotive News

November 26, 2008 - 6:32 pm ET

DETROIT -- General Motors is studying the idea of killing the Saab, Saturn and Pontiac brands as it seeks U.S. rescue loans, Bloomberg News reported today.

Bloomberg cited unnamed sources.

A GM spokesman declined comment, the news service said. The automaker is preparing to submit a detailed turnaround plan to Congress on Tuesday, followed by hearings next week in its quest for a federal loan to avert a cash shortage.

GM already has said it may sell Hummer.

GM's board will meet Sunday and Monday, both regularly scheduled meetings, to review the plan to be presented to Congress, Bloomberg said. Only a small portion of that plan will be made public.

Link: http://www.autonews.com/article/20081126/A...paign_id=alerts

Link to Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=new...id=amIqBBYGRh5Q

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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How can they kill just Pontiac if they're now integrated into the Buick and GMC brands too?

IMHO, I still think this "too many brands" idea that our so called "experts" who "analyze" the auto industry keep harping on is just totally stupid. I think GM needs to take advantage of the brands they do have and just go gangbusters making each one of them really bad ass - like they used to be in the 60s.

Pontiac's would sell like gangbusters if they had a really cool rear drive sedan based off the CTS platform that was priced correctly - a sedan and a coupe (with current Pontiac styling). I also think GM should have two North American versions of the Commodore - the G8 and the Buick Park Avenue from China - they'd get much more return on their investment that way. And while I'm on the subject of Buick, whatever happened to that really nice convertible concept car from a few years back? Now that should be coming out along with the Camaro, again, they'd get a much better return on their investment. And as far as having a gas mileage car for the PBG group, why not have a Pontiac version of the Astra in there too (instead of the Cobalt)? It's a nicer car that I think would suit the Pontiac lineup pretty well.

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This is pretty status quo...

From what I understand, GM regularly re-assesses the value of it's divisions.

And you'd better believe they're probably running assessments on all of the brands except Chevrolet and Cadillac right now. Hell, they might even be assessing the viability of Cadillac. After all, it's not exactly a huge success.

If I had to choose I'd eliminate divisions in this order:

1st Hummer

2nd Saab

3rd Saturn

4th Pontiac

I guess the current idea is to have Chevrolet as the volume division, Buick/GMC as the mid level franchise and Cadillac as the global luxury player.

I don't really see the point of Saturn being on that list since it is essentially Opel. But then again, Buick could easily BECOME Opel in the future.

I really pray that GM isn't going to close any of it's equitable and historic divisions.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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GM’s eight U.S. brands are the most among the domestic automakers, compared with four at Ford Motor Co. and three at Chrysler LLC. The Hummer sport-utility vehicle unit was put on the block in June. GM agreed to eliminate the 103-year-old Oldsmobile brand in 2000 because of declining sales.

Wouldn't Ford have 5?

GM has 1,071 outlets for Pontiac,
Which are also paired with other franchises, mostly GMC and Buick, so what would be the point?

This year, Pontiac sales are down 21 percent, compared with a 15 percent industrywide decline through October.

GM established the Saturn brand in 1985, five years before selling the first vehicle. Most of the U.S. dealers are stand alone, according to GM. Sales reached a peak in 1994 at 286,003 units, according to Autodata Corp. in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. This year’s deliveries are down 19 percent.

So... Saturn has an all new line up, yet Pontiac has a bunch of outdated cars and Chevrolet clones and sales are down roughly the same amount at each division?!?! Gee, that's a hard decision to make. But it's a logical decision and we all know that GM doesn't do too well with those.

GM made its initial investment in Sweden’s Saab in 1990 and took full control in 2000. Its sales climbed to a record 47,914 in 2003. In 2008, they’re down 31 percent through October.

REPEAT AFTER ME: BLACK HOLE.... CUT THE LOSSES.... SEND ALL OF THE FUTURE SAAB PRODUCTS TO SATURN

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How can they kill just Pontiac if they're now integrated into the Buick and GMC brands too?

IMHO, I still think this "too many brands" idea that our so called "experts" who "analyze" the auto industry keep harping on is just totally stupid. I think GM needs to take advantage of the brands they do have and just go gangbusters making each one of them really bad ass - like they used to be in the 60s.

Pontiac's would sell like gangbusters if they had a really cool rear drive sedan based off the CTS platform that was priced correctly - a sedan and a coupe (with current Pontiac styling). I also think GM should have two North American versions of the Commodore - the G8 and the Buick Park Avenue from China - they'd get much more return on their investment that way. And while I'm on the subject of Buick, whatever happened to that really nice convertible concept car from a few years back? Now that should be coming out along with the Camaro, again, they'd get a much better return on their investment. And as far as having a gas mileage car for the PBG group, why not have a Pontiac version of the Astra in there too (instead of the Cobalt)? It's a nicer car that I think would suit the Pontiac lineup pretty well.

GM had 50% market share in 1960, they have 19% now and have added Hummer, Saab, Saturn (killed Olds) since then. They can't fund 8 brands to make them bad ass with 19% market share.

The Sigma platform is too expensive for anything that doesn't carry a Cadillac price tag. Astra is a money loser because of exchange rate, and they have a near 400 day supply on dealer lots, it is GM's slowest selling product. The Vellite was a cool looking concept, but GM doesn't have the money to make it, and a $40-45k Buick convertible probably won't sell in volume.

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GM had 50% market share in 1960, they have 19% now and have added Hummer, Saab, Saturn (killed Olds) since then. They can't fund 8 brands to make them bad ass with 19% market share.

The Sigma platform is too expensive for anything that doesn't carry a Cadillac price tag. Astra is a money loser because of exchange rate, and they have a near 400 day supply on dealer lots, it is GM's slowest selling product. The Vellite was a cool looking concept, but GM doesn't have the money to make it, and a $40-45k Buick convertible probably won't sell in volume.

Sure they can...

It all depends on the scope of the brand.

VW does this nicely in Europe.

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I have said for years they need to cut brands, I love this idea. Hummer has to go fast, it is a politically incorrect vehicle and image killer at this point. Saab is next out the door, if they could get even $10 million for either brand they should take it. Otherwise just close them down and eat the cost.

Step 2 is hard, because Saturn with 5 relatively new models is still a sales dud, and has it's own dealerships, making it easy to kill. I would lean toward closing down Saturn. Although Pontiac's and Buick's brand images are dead and their product lineups uncompetitive. GMC is totally redundant. GMC could become a fleet sale outlet for both work trucks, vans etc, but rental cars as well. I think GM should have one brand that all fleet sales go through so the resale values of the other brands aren't hurt.

I would only keep 2 of the B-P-G group to fill the space between Chevy and Cadillac. If GMC is all fleet and covers rental cars, I'd keep Buick for crossovers and cars based off Chevy but nicer. I would lean toward getting rid of Pontiac in that case.

The other option is get rid of B-P-G and keep Saturn, but people still think of Saturn as entry level, positioning them above Chevy is unlikely to work. If they had Oldsmobile, Chevy-Olds-Cadillac would be an epic lineup.

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So... Saturn has an all new line up, yet Pontiac has a bunch of outdated cars and Chevrolet clones and sales are down roughly the same amount at each division?!?!

Pontiac has a bunch of outdated cars?

G6 came out in '05, is now getting mild refresh

If we say the obvious G5=Cobalt, then it came out in '05

G3=Aveo obviously, but at least they just reworked it, so it's pretty fresh (if completely uninspiring)

Solstice came out in '06

G8 just came out, what, early this year? late last year?

Vibe is new

I'd say the G6 & G5 need redone soon, but I'm not sure "a bunch of outdated cars" is a good description.

Also don't forget that the Astra isn't really new, just new to us/US. Sky is just as old as the Solstice. Saturn's lineup is newer overall, though.

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General Motors is studying the idea of killing the Saab, Saturn and Pontiac brands

And what, exactly, does GM expect the effect of this announcement (even just the consideration of killing the brands) will be on Saab, Saturn, and Pontiac sales?

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We've all been talking and specualting about this at work for a while now. Something has too give. Too many names, too many twins. I agree with dropping Saab, not so sure about Saturn, the new models they've got are some of the best I've seen in a long while, beautiful cars. We all expect Pontiac to go away, right or wrong. There's an argument for both sides. They need to have just luxury, sporty and economical nameplates. The problem is how well Buick is doing in China, so do you make Buick the luxury flagship and drop Caddy or keep both. Pontiac is the sport, Chevrolet is the economy. I say GMC is a waste of time. Don't know, I don't envy the people that have to decide.

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Drop GMC. The truck market is dead right now and simply cannot support an entire division full of badge jobs.

Buick. Drop it. It should have been made competative with Acura 10 years ago. Too late now.

Pontiac. Keep it and simply import Holdens, and don't change anything on the Holdens. The commodore looks better than the G8.

SAAB. Keep it, because it's still profitable and generates posative cash flow.

Chevy. Keep it of course.

Caddillac. Keep it of course.

Hummer. Drop it. The H3 is a rip off and the H2 is a bigger rip off. They are both cool though.

Saturn drop it. I like Saturn, but it had no business being created in the first place.

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We've all been talking and specualting about this at work for a while now. Something has too give. Too many names, too many twins. I agree with dropping Saab, not so sure about Saturn, the new models they've got are some of the best I've seen in a long while, beautiful cars. We all expect Pontiac to go away, right or wrong. There's an argument for both sides. They need to have just luxury, sporty and economical nameplates. The problem is how well Buick is doing in China, so do you make Buick the luxury flagship and drop Caddy or keep both. Pontiac is the sport, Chevrolet is the economy. I say GMC is a waste of time. Don't know, I don't envy the people that have to decide.

I can agree with a lot of this here. Saab would be the most likely to go, then Pontiac.

Though at this point all 3 could easly go, and outside of the few us would even notice...

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I think you'll see the further reduction in nameplates, but without a truly "Chapter 11-ish" Government Event, you have mouths to feed and Olds proved you can't afford to buy 'em out.

I'd be shopping or closing Holden, Saab, Hummer & Saturn---although I believe its small, independent dealer body and Spring Hill would make an attractive acquisition for someone. Saab & Hummer are costly distractions.

With it's best lineup--possibly ever--GM has the potential to really do well with the 15% Market share they could naturally support. The credit crunch has decimated GM one hope of offering a deal. GMAC is tightening its lending footprint, daily...GM no longer has a captive finance company. Note that Chrysler is offering 0%.

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I would be prepared for an announcement soon of more employee layoffs and plant closings, most likely before GM goes before Congress next week.

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I'll say it again. Shutting Saturn down is a horrible idea because of the stand-alone dealerships. The costs associated with closing them down, and the subsequent lawsuits (this is America after all) would cost GM an arm, a leg, a lung, half a liver, a testicle, the duodenum and a cornea. I'm not sure what kind of sales network Saab has, my local dealership is rolled in with Cadillac and BPG. Shutting Pontiac is the most cost-effective way to shut a brand if GM decides that is necessary and neither Hummer nor Saab can be sold.

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>>"Drop GMC

Saab- Keep it, because it's still profitable and generates positive cash flow"<<

Problem here WRT consistancy of reasoning is: GMC is also profitable & generates cash flow, with far less investment vs. saab.

>>"GM had 50% market share in 1960"<<

GM had 46% marketshare in 1960 (2,792,480 units vs. the domestic market total of 6,029,943), and only if you include the domestic brands only; that percentage would be slightly less if you include the smattering of imports.

GM also only had 34% in 1930 (990,442 vs, domestic industry total of 2,928,064)... the '60s were the spike vs. the overall history of GM's marketshare.

>>"The problem is how well Buick is doing in China, so do you make Buick the luxury flagship and drop Caddy or keep both."<<

But Buick China & Buick U.S.A. share nothing but the nameplate- they are autonomous to each other. Offing one would have nothing to do with the other. I'm certainly not in favor of discontinuing Buick, but this is not a legitimate reason to base any decision on, either way. 'Dropping Cadillac' is ludicrious to even consider.

>>"...Cadillac. After all, it's not exactly a huge success"<<

Source ??

Edited by balthazar
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. . . the subsequent lawsuits . . . would cost GM . . . a testicle . . .

:scared: Ow-ow-ow!

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Pontiac. Keep it and simply import Holdens, and don't change anything on the Holdens. The commodore looks better than the G8.

.

Last month, not even one G8 was sold for every Pontiac dealer. Unless Pontiac dealers can sell like 50 times as many Holdens as they already do, I just don't see that as viable.

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I would be prepared for an announcement soon of more employee layoffs and plant closings, most likely before GM goes before Congress next week.

I would be thinking worse than that....

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Last month, not even one G8 was sold for every Pontiac dealer. Unless Pontiac dealers can sell like 50 times as many Holdens as they already do, I just don't see that as viable.

The G8 is a dud, I I don't see any more Holdens making their way here after these numerous failures....

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I love these "unnamed sources". They could be anyone, saying anything. Hell I could be one.

Edited by Dodgefan
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I love these "unnamed sources". They could be anyone, saying anything. Hell I could be one.

If you lived in Detroit, maybe......

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