Will Saturn Become a Private Brand?

saturn-aura
In an intriguing turn of events the AP reported this past week that an investor group was interested in purchasing GM’s Saturn brand and using excess automobile production capacity to create a Private Brand distribution company. This is an intriguing idea, what if they also partnered with a Walmart or Costco for distribution, it could dramatically reinvent the industry.
Investor group says it may buy GM’s Saturn brand

DETROIT (AP) — An Oklahoma City private equity firm has teamed with a group of Saturn dealers in an effort to buy the money-losing brand from General Motors Corp.

The proposal from a group led by Black Oak Partners LLC is among several that GM has received for the brand, said GM spokesman Mike Morrissey.

“We are working with all those groups,” Morrissey said. “It’s too early to speculate as to what the ultimate outcome is going to be.”

Jennifer Threet, a spokeswoman for the Black Oak group, said it delivered a proposal to GM last week and is awaiting a formal meeting.

The group said in a statement issued Wednesday that it would get vehicles from GM initially, but it expects to sell smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles from other global manufacturers.

GM put the Saturn brand up for review and possible sale last year. The company must shed Saturn and other brands as part of its restructuring plan to justify billions in government loans that it needs to stay in business.

Carl F. Galeana, who owns two Saturn dealerships north of Detroit, said the interest shows that the Saturn brand is worth something despite GM’s willingness to part with it.

“There’s people out there that realize that Saturn is a valuable brand. It’s telling our customers that Saturn is going to be there in the long run,” he said.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.