In January 2008, Chris Hurd added a Saab franchise to his General Motors auto mall in suburban Providence, R.I. The mall already had Chevrolet, Buick-Pontiac-GMC and Hummer dealerships.
Hurd brimmed with optimism as he displayed Saab vehicles with the Hummers in the Quonset-hut store he had spent $3.5 million to build. "With Saab in there, I can continue to invest in Hummer and give those brands what they need to grow," he said at the time.
But last summer, GM said it planned to sell Hummer. Last month, the restructuring plan GM submitted to qualify for emergency federal aid said Saab was under "strategic review."
That language, GM executives conceded, meant the brand's not working, so it probably needs to go.
Those developments, Hurd now says, makes him feel as if "the rug's been pulled out from under me."
"All my grand plans are in question now," Hurd told Automotive News.
Dozens of deals to consolidate GM franchises in superstore dealerships are on hold because of the uncertain future of the automaker and especially of its Hummer, Saab and Saturn units. Dealers such as Hurd say they are in limbo, their investments threatened.