George Nahas owned only an Oldsmobile dealership when General Motors announced in 2000 that it would kill the brand. So he moved on -- to Saturn.
Nahas, who now owns two Saturn stores in Alabama and Florida, again faces the possibility that the struggling automaker will take away his livelihood.
I feel violated, Nahas said. Just a couple of weeks ago they were telling us how viable Saturn was to General Motors. They were asking all of us to help them get the $25 billion aid package.
GM is seeking a new direction for Saturn and is selling Swedish brand Saab, according to the recovery strategy the automaker gave yesterday to Congress. GM may sell or close Saturn, GM COO Fritz Henderson said, adding the brand is just not successful.
Saab has 231 stores; Saturn has 425.
Nahas said he doesnt know what to think because the Saturn plan lacked specifics.
Any plan thats submitted to Congress in justification of their loan, before I support it, is going to have to say how it affects us dealers, he said.
Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak was not available for comment because she was spending today talking with dealers, a spokesman said.
The possible elimination of Saab and Saturn became news last week via Bloomberg News reports. GM also wants to shrink Pontiac to a niche brand, according to the recovery strategy released yesterday. The automaker also is trying to sell Hummer, which it put on the market in October.
The uncertainty surrounding Saabs future crushed November sales by more than 50 percent at Ken Playters suburban Detroit Saab store.
Whats going to hurt us is if it just hangs out there on the limb, not being bought by anybody, he said. I get that the Saab brand isnt even a blip on the General Motors portfolio. But weve been able to market that vehicle successfully.
Playter, who also has Subaru, Hyundai and Kia franchises, said he worries that having two Swedish brands on the market -- Saab and Fords Volvo -- is too much.
I guess I would liken it to the house market, he said. Everyones house is for sale, but I dont know of any potential buyers out there that would pay what it is for Saab.