For nearly 20 years, Saturn cranked out some of the world’s... cars, until it fell victim to the Carpocalypse and finally closed up shop for good. You might think that most people are over Saturn’s demise these days, but one Florida car dealer has a pending lawsuit against General Motors’ auditing firm claiming they misled him on the brand’s prospects.
Automotive News reports dealer Bob Goodman has “a different kind of lawsuit” (their words, not mine, but A+ description for sure) pending against Deloitte & Touche that could go to trial as early as this month.
Goodman claims the firm gave dealers inaccurate information about Saturn’s health, and didn’t tell them it was actually a perpetually money-losing brand. The brand hit its peak sales in 1994.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM, Saturn did not reveal its earnings or losses until they came out during the bailout. But Goodman’s lawsuit argues Deloitte & Touche knew through an audit Saturn was failing as early as 2005, but didn’t disclose this information to dealers. From the story:
“Our case isn’t with GM, or even with Saturn,” says Jeff Morganroth, the Detroit attorney representing Goodman’s case who now speaks on Goodman’s behalf. “It’s with the people who did the auditing and turned a blind eye to problems. Mr. Goodman relied on them when he was making his decisions about whether to invest.
“Had he known the extent of Saturn’s losses, he wouldn’t have sunk all that money into it.”
Why isn’t Goodman suing GM? He probably can’t, AN reports. Besides the protections offered by GM’s post-bailout bankruptcy shield, dealers had to sign a pledge not to sue Saturn in exchange for the brand’s return under Roger Penske ownership.
Remember that whole thing? Penske was supposed to take over Saturn with an eventual supply of new vehicles, possibly from Nissan-Renault, but the deal fell through and Saturn died forever.
Goodman’s story is actually kind of a sad one, to be honest. Now 53, he owned Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Saab and Isuzu franchises — and all but one of those brands didn’t end well — but grew weary of the brutality of the business. So he bought into Saturn, its more customer-friendly “no haggle” policies appealing to his better side, AN reports. And while some dealers were able to recover from the loss of their franchises, Goodman was not. He’s now working to become an attorney instead.
It’s one more story of the lingering effects of the Carpocalypse, and time will tell if Goodman prevails in court or not.
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