GM Announces Deal With Penske to Save Saturn

2009_saturn_outlook_new.jpg Days after GM officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the automaker has announced an deal with Penske Automotive Group, which will officially acquire the Saturn brand.

Under the proposed deal, Penske would officially own the Saturn brand and GM would continue production of the Saturn Vue, Aura and Outlook on a contract basis. The Saturn Astra and Sky are apparently not part of the deal, which means they will be dead. The deal will save 350 dealerships and approximately 13,000 jobs.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.


General Motors, Penske outline proposed deal for purchase of Saturn

Transaction would save more than 13,000 jobs; preserves renowned brand and retail network

Detroit — General Motors Corp. and Penske Automotive Group today confirmed details of a proposed transaction under which Penske would acquire the Saturn brand. If completed, the deal would save more than 350 dealerships and 13,000 jobs at Saturn and its retailers in the United States, and would preserve the customer-focused Saturn brand.

The proposed transaction is part of GM’s rebuilding efforts outlined in the viability plan that was submitted to the U.S. government earlier this year. Under the terms in the memorandum of understanding, Penske would obtain the rights to the brand as well as certain other Saturn assets. GM would continue production, on a contract basis, of the Saturn Aura, Vue and Outlook.

“This is the combination of two iconic teams: Saturn and Penske,” said Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak. “GM had the vision to create Saturn and has the desire to see it succeed in the future.”

“Saturn has a passionate customer base and outstanding dealer network,” said Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Automotive Group. “For nearly 20 years Saturn has focused on treating the customer right. We share that philosophy, and we want to build on those strengths.”

Saturn began selling cars in 1990 and has sold more than 4 million vehicles. More than 80 percent of those vehicles are still in operation, according to data from R.L. Polk. Saturn has regularly scored among the industry leaders for non-luxury brands in customer satisfaction surveys.

“There has been a groundswell of support for Saturn, with our retailers and owners urging us to save the brand,” said Lajdziak. “We heard their call loud and clear, and it inspired us as we worked to secure Saturn’s future.”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the agreement will not be disclosed at this time.