DETROIT -- General Motors Co. has halted production of Saturn cars and crossovers and plans to sell the thousands of Saturn vehicles it has in stock within the next four months.
Many of the vehicles were built to supply to Penske Automotive Group Inc. But on Wednesday, Sept. 30, GM's expected sale of Saturn to Penske was canceled.
Within 24 hours of that news, GM built the last Saturn vehicles, said GM spokeswoman Sherrie Arb.
GM built the Saturn Outlook crossover at its Lansing Delta plant in Delta Township, Mich., the Aura sedan at its Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan., and the Vue small crossover at its plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
GM has about 12,000 Saturn vehicles in inventory, said Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of U.S. sales. It is unclear how many of those are 2009s.
"We sold about 3,000 Saturns last month, so that's about a four-month supply if you maintain that selling pace," LaNeve said. "I don't think [the canceled sale of the brand] will affect our total 2010 production rate at all."
There are about 500 2010 Outlooks at the Lansing Delta plant waiting to be shipped, a GM spokesman said.
Several dealers said they were told during a conference call that GM would not allow them to order 2010s. Some believe GM will dole out its inventory so that all continuing dealers' needs would be met. But others interpreted the no-order news to mean GM wouldn't ship the cars it has built lest that open GM to lawsuits under the terms of the dealers' wind-down agreement.
Said GM spokesman John McDonald. "The intent here is to wind the dealers down ... not to keep pumping new product in the pipeline. But how do we pull back on the ordering process? We don't know yet."
GM is confident it can quickly sell down the remaining Saturn inventory, citing the Pontiac precedent. On Aug. 31, GM had 18,000 Pontiac vehicles in stock, McDonald said, or about a 30-day supply.