Killing Saturn Equals Killing Hybrid Sales

According to the most recent rumors, General Motors plans to shed Saturn by the end of the year unless it founds an outside investor willing to buy the ailing company. But what's interesting is that killing or at least getting rid of Saturn also means losing about a quarter of GM's hybrid sales, as Saturn plays a key role in this particular sector.

At this time, Saturn sells hybrid versions of the Vue crossover and Aura sedan. Overall, the company was the second brand owned by General Motors when it comes to 2008 hybrid sales, with 5,838 units vehicles sold in the United States, according to figures provided by Autonews. In case Saturn is discontinued, General Motors will continue to offer Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups plus three full-sized Two Mode SUVs.

A thing worth mentioning is that General Motors doesn't plan to transfer the technology used for manufacturing Saturn hybrid to one of the four surviving units: Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and GMC.

"There will be no technology transfer from Saturn," a source familiar with the matter told Autonews. "There is a lot of doubt internally as to what comes to production. Everything is in the air. Everything goes through the government."

However, Mark LaNeve, GM's North American sales chief, shared a different point of view and hinted that Saturn's hybrid assembly lines might be transferred to other manufacturers within General Motors after all.

"Any of the four core brands could get our technology," LaNeve was quoted as saying by Autonews. "There's not a hybrid in Saturn that is exclusive to Saturn. Nothing changes there, unless someone who buys Saturn says we want us to continue building hybrids for this brand and we agree to do it."
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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