By Drew Johnson
Monday, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 1:09 pm
 
General Motors' Saturn brand isn't expected to be included in the company's viability plan -- set to be handed into the U.S. government next month -- but that doesn't mean GM's youngest brand will be going away overnight.

In fact, the Saturn brand won't be going anywhere for at least four years. At a recent Saturn dealer meeting, GM revealed that it has allocated enough to cash to keep Saturn vehicles in production until 2012, with some models guaranteed through 2013.

However, Saturn's existence beyond 2013 is uncertain at best. "We're working all the options," GM sales and marketing head Mark LaNeve told Automotive News. "We'd love to find a way to continue the brand, but there's nothing definitive I can tell you today." A decision about the future of the Saturn brand is expected to be made next month.

With most production only guaranteed until 2012, Saturn's future outlook is looking bleaker than ever. If the brand is in fact a lame duck, GM will spend little in the way of new product offerings. That means Saturn could finish in 2013 with an unspectacular lineup of 6-year-old vehicles.