Car dealership expands space despite uncertainty

The new Saturn sales showroom at Ed Bozarth Auto

A hum of construction echoes from the rear of Ed Bozarth Chevrolet-Pontiac and Buick off U.S. Highway 6&50 in Grand Junction.

But at the front of the sprawling 14-acre General Motors dealership and repair shop, it’s dead quiet.

Heavy construction equipment sat idle late Friday morning in a partially developed parking lot outside the planned new home of Saturn of Grand Junction, where a sign encourages locals to “watch Saturn grow.”

Are they seeing the future?

Mark Miller, general manager of Ed Bozarth, said the roughly 6,000-square-foot building pegged for Saturn just as easily could be a showroom for some other brand .

A separate 11,000-square-foot building also is under construction nearby; it will house a used-car showroom on the ground floor. The Ed Bozarth administrative offices will be moved into its second story.

The move should be completed around late summer, Miller said.

Amid slumping local sales and the high-profile struggles of Saturn’s parent company, General Motors, it’s a tricky time for expansion in the car business.

Miller said the dealership has seen a 30 percent drop in sales year to year.

“If something were to happen to the Saturn brand and it goes away, we could move our other brands in there,” said Miller, whose dealership has been at 2595 U.S. Highway 6&50 for 17 years.

“We have no reason to believe there will not be a Saturn franchise here, but if it does go away, we’ll have to sit down and figure out what to do with that building. We’ll know a lot more after June 1,” Miller said.

General Motors is under pressure to sell or discontinue certain brands, including Saturn, with a looming May 31 federal deadline to cut costs or file for bankruptcy, according to The Associated Press.

GM and Chrysler accepted some $17.4 billion in federal bailout funds.

Miller said on Friday that Saturns account for about 10 percent of sales at Ed Bozarth.


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