Jim Smith's been a hard man to track down this a.m. -- though, seeing as how he divides his time between his three Saturn dealerships (in Irving, Lewisville and Plano), that's completely understandable. (And, as a former wide receiver for the USFL's Birmingham Stallions and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, he is, by instinct, elusive.) But we do have good reason for wanting to speak with Smith, who, in January, was talking about laying off employees and restructuring his business in the wake of the car industry's woes.
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This morning, he shows up in the pages of The New York Times -- as The Face of Saturn, which is the first General Motors division running TV, radio and newspaper ads "that address the effects of the precarious situation." Actually, Smith is one of two Saturn dealers currently featured in separate national spots; in his, he says he's tired of listening "to these pundits talk about the fact that American car companies cannot build a car Americans want to buy." I wanted to ask Smith how he got the gig -- and whether the VUE 2-Mode Hybrid was a better ride than my POS 1996 Jeep Cherokee.