The last new Saturn for sale in Spokane is black, turbo-charged and marked down $7,000. The odometer reads 38 miles.
John Agost, general manager of what is now Barton Automotive Downtown, steps into the Sky roadster, turns the key, and a throaty murmur sounds.
It may be raining outside, but summer endures in the Sky’s sunken cockpit, even if its maker does not.
General Motors stopped manufacturing Saturns last October. Agost had 21 on the lot at Second Avenue and Monroe Street then. Buyers have soaked up the other 20, undeterred by the brand’s pending doom.
Agost said Barton will service and sell parts for Saturn until GM terminates all brand dealerships in October. Although Barton no longer receives new vehicles, remaining with GM until then gives the dealership access to GMAC financing and GM used car auctions, he said.
Because GM is eliminating Saturn, the dealership is not eligible for arbitration that may save some of the hundreds of GM and Chrysler dealers that lost their rights to sell new vehicles last spring, Agost said.
Meanwhile, the Spokane dealership has shifted to used car offerings, with about 50 on the lot and inside the showroom – which the Sky shares with a Nissan Altima, a Dodge truck, a Toyota RAV4 and a 2007 Sky that is seeming not much the worse for wear.
Barton is looking for another new car dealership for the site, Agost said, but is unwilling to commit to a brand that may be short-lived.
He’s getting by with a one-car new car inventory: a Sky, priced to move at $29,000 and change.
“It’s going to be a collector’s item,” Agost said.