DETROIT -- Saturn has begun alerting customers that it may be spun off by General Motors as an independent marketing and distribution company.
In a letter sent to about 1.5 million Saturn owners last night, Saturn said it would have to line up products to sell -- either from other manufacturers or from GM in the role of a vendor -- after GMs current commitment to build Saturn products ends after the 2012 model year.
The Saturn Distribution Corporation already exists as an indirect subsidiary of GM, wrote Jill Lajdziak, general manager of Saturn, in the letter. Its the entity with which our retailers have their franchise agreement.
An independent Saturn would still have its great retailers, and it would continue to source current products from GM through 2011. If successful, SDC at that point would source products from other manufacturers.
A Saturn spokesman confirmed the letter and its contents. The purpose of the letter is to reassure current and potential Saturn owners that Saturn is a viable brand and that GM will back its warranties and product quality, says spokesman Steve Janisse.
The goal of a spinoff would be to find future vehicles that match the Saturn Brand: fuel-efficient, safe, reliable and affordable, Lajdziak said. From a retailing perspective, we would build on our core strength of unmatched customer service.