The planned importer of Indian-made pickups says he turned down an overture from General Motors to sell the trucks at Saturn dealerships.
John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles U.S.A. Inc., said he was contacted in December by a senior GM executive to discuss the idea.
Perez holds the rights to import and distribute light trucks from Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., of Mumbai, India, in the United States. Global says it has signed up 327 retailers to begin selling a four-cylinder diesel pickup later this year. An Indian-built SUV and crossover are planned for the 2011 model year.
Perez said the GM executive, whom he declines to identify, told him in December that GM had decided to discontinue funding future products for Saturn and was exploring ideas for products to sell through the Saturn dealer network. Perez said the proposal envisioned Saturn dealers selling Mahindra's diesel light trucks under the Saturn badge.
"I told him it didn't make sense for us," Perez told Automotive News. "We have dealers of our own to look out for. Why would we put our products into their dealerships?"
GM has said it will stop supplying vehicles to Saturn dealerships after the 2012 model year. The company plans to offer Saturn's 403-store dealership network the opportunity to take over the brand.
Perez told the GM executive that Global Vehicles is targeting Saturn dealers to become Mahindra dealers, using their stores as Mahindra dealerships. Perez said his company has talked with about 40 Saturn dealers.