By one measure of sales performance, two General Motors brands — Saturn and Hummer — were at polar extremes last year.
The measure is U.S. new-vehicle retail registrations per franchise. Saturn tied for the greatest improvement among all automakers' brands in 2007, an Automotive News analysis concludes. But Hummer was the biggest loser.
More broadly, the Detroit 3 badly trailed the Japan 3 in registrations per franchise, a reflection of the domestic automakers' oversized retail networks.
Looking at retail registrations per franchise provides a rough gauge of brand and dealership sales success. The calculation does not include less-profitable fleet sales, which the Detroit 3 rely on more heavily than the import-brand companies.
Last year, the average Saturn franchise accounted for 479 registrations — 55 more than in 2006. BMW division showed the same 55-unit improvement.
While Saturn's new-vehicle sales rose in 2007, said spokesman Steve Janisse, the brand reduced fleet sales. "We didn't really change the number of retailers," he added.