Loss of Saturn brand will create more vacant dealerships in Wisconsin

General Motors Co. said it will shut down its Saturn brand, putting Saturn dealerships across the country out of business.

General Motors Co. said last week that it will shut down its Saturn brand, putting Saturn dealerships across the country out of business.

GM made the decision after an agreement with Penske Automotive Group Inc. to acquire the Saturn brand fell apart.

Boucher Automotive Group operates Saturn dealerships in Milwaukee, Greenfield and Waukesha. Saturn dealers also are located in Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Janesville, La Crosse, Madison, Oshkosh, Racine, Sheboygan and Wausau.

"It illustrates that our economy is not healthy yet," Jim Tolkan, president of the Autombile Dealer Association of Mega-Milwaukee (ADAMM) told WISN-Channel 12, a media partner of BizTimes. "Saturn employees that might have been picked up by Penske’s deal obviously will be out of work."

Tolkan estimates the discontinuation of Saturn will result in a total national loss 10,000 to 13,000 jobs.

Penske, citing concerns about whether it could continue to supply vehicles after a manufacturing contract with GM runs out, ended the talks.

GM chief executive officer Fritz Henderson said Saturn and its dealership network will be phased out.

"This is very disappointing news and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality," Henderson said.

GM said Saturn owners can still go to Saturn dealers for service and then to a certified GM dealer for service when Saturn dealers close.

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