Saturday, June 06, 2009

Good news from the auto bailout

A little good news from the bailout. Roger Penske is buying Saturn and a Chinese company is buying Hummer. These are both really positive steps for GM and car buyers.

Saturn has a really cool opportunity to take cars that are built in other markets by companies that don't have U.S. distribution and bring them to the U.S.. Saturn could also specify cars they want built by Chinese or Indian manufacturers much like Apple specifies an IPod or a Mac. Either way, the Saturn brand stands for a different car buying and service experience so they add to the cars they sell.

Penske could bring the Smart Car into the Saturn fold since he already has U.S. distribution rights. He could play up Saturn's GM built hybrid and small cars. Saturn could look like a fuel economy and technology leader as well as a leader in car buying experience.

The Saturn brand can probably avoid the taint of GM costing taxpayers billions because Saturn has been deliberately kept distant as a brand from GM and Saturn is now out of the whole bankruptcy/bailout mess.

Hummer will be able to continue to offer their unique vehicles and people who like that sort of thing will have an opportunity to buy the sort of the thing they like. There is export potential for the U.S. plants and potential for the Chinese company to eventually build Hummer products in China and sell worldwide. Of course, like Ford, this Chinese company will have to negotiate with the union that owns their competitors. The Chinese company has the leverage that they can just shut down the plants and move the production to China. So, maybe the workers at the Hummer plants will make the national union give some ground.

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