Saturn still going

The Gary Moe Auto Group in Red Deer plans to keep on wheeling out its Saturn products despite General Motors of Canada’s announcement Wednesday that it is closing two in every five of its dealers by late 2010.

The Gary Moe Auto Group in Red Deer plans to keep on wheeling out its Saturn products despite General Motors of Canada’s announcement Wednesday that it is closing two in every five of its dealers by late 2010.

Dean Moe, Gary’s son, said on Wednesday that it will be business as usual for Saturn although the city business hasn’t received any notice from GM.

“We’re not closing the store at all. We’re going straight ahead.

“We’re not exactly sure what the contract will be,” Dean Moe said.

“We already knew they were cutting Saturn stores.”

GM said in February that it would phase out its Saturn brands by 2012.

It does not plan to develop any more new vehicles for Saturn, which began 19 years ago as an effort to attract owners of small Japanese cars.

“Saturn as a whole is great and it’s been a great company to deal with,” Dean Moe said.

Gary Moe was in on the Saturn ground floor in 1991 when GM launched the Saturn.

He was the only dealer in Central Alberta and one of seven across Alberta.

The Red Deer auto retailer acquired Progress Volkswagen last summer, adding to the Gary Moe Auto Group that also consists of Gary Moe Mazda, Gary Moe Saturn and Gary Moe Hyundai.

Dean Moe said there’s an ample supply of Saturns available.

“There’s lots of supply of Saturn on the ground right now in Canada,” Dean Moe said.

“We’ll keep on doing what we do best and that’s sell cars whether new or used,” he added.

Spokesman for other GM dealers in Red Deer couldn’t be reached for comment.

Stew Low, spokesman for GM in Canada, said the automaker wouldn’t publicly identify dealers facing the axe.

However, he said they are primarily in large cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and other large cities.

GM dealers in rural areas are in better shape to retain their businesses, says Michael Hatch, chief economist at the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.

Hatch said it’s easier serving a city with a large population by eliminating some dealers as opposed to eliminating dealers in rural areas where it’s the only dealer around for a four-hour radius.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com