A group of investors known as Telesto Ventures has put forward a serious proposal to purchase Saturn from General Motors and turn it into a network of retailers selling vehicles from foreign manufactures.
The business plan would have the Saturn continue selling GM-sourced products until 2011 at which point the dealer network would act more like a chain of retail stores, selling different economical and environmentally-friendly vehicles that would keep their distinct brand names.
John Pappanastos, a spokesman for Telesto, a group which includes private equity firm Black Oak Partners LLC, described the business model as being similar to the Best Buy electronics chain. “Customers deal with Best Buy because of the customer experience not because they are the only place to buy a Samsung or a Sony TV,” he said.
As that statement implied, the Telesto business model would permit these vehicles to be sold by other retailers as well.
Currently Pappanastos says Telesto is in talks with several foreign manufacturers.
As far fetched and unconventional as the proposal sounds, Telesto is quite serious and General Motors generally interested. GM spokesman Steve Janisse described the proposal as “very interesting and told Automotive News that, “I can tell you this is one of the interested parties with Saturn and we have been working with them throughout this process. There are other interested parties as well who we’re working with. But I can’t speculate on where all this will go.”
This news comes at a particularly interesting time as today a Saturn task force was scheduled to present a select group of Saturn dealers will a proposal to spin Saturn off as a separate company.
[Source: Automotive News]