Saturn dealers hope to spin-off brand into new company

Saturn dealers, hit by the news that General Motors plans to axe the struggling brand, are attempting to orchestrate a spin-off from GM, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plan involves branding vehicles made by foreign automakers as Saturns. GM announced today all Saturn models will cease production by 2011.

Dan Januska, the owner of Saturn of Scottsdale, told the Journal a plan on the drawing board would involve selling vehicles made by Indian or Chinese manufacturers. "There are not a whole lot of alternatives," said Januska, a Saturn Dealer Council member. "Someone is going to see the value of us and I don't know who it will be."

If Saturn separates from its parent company ahead of the planned 2011 closure, it's unclear if GM would continue to supply vehicles to the firm. It would likely take two or three years to prepare Indian or Chinese cars for U.S. sales.

During GM's press conference late Tuesday, CEO Rick Wagoner said it's possible another venture will find value in the brand's dealer chain. "It's a good distribution network. If someone comes up with an offer, we're very open to that." Wagoner said.

If Saturn is to become an independent company, plans are likely to come together within the next two months. Execution of any strategy is likely to take years, however.