Saturn has become the third General Motors brand to find a buyer after Opel and HUMMER. The Penske Automotive Group (PAG) headed by Detroit business tycoon Roger Penske is the successful bidder that outdid 15 others in the race to acquire the 24 year-old brand. This is a 100% ownership deal for PAG.
GM will continue supplying vehicles like the Aura and the Outlook for the next two years while the PAG finalises manufacturing agreements with another company other than GM. Penske said he hoped that a worldwide partner would take over the building baton off the hands of GM. The situation is not ideal at the moment since the two companies are now effectively in competition.
"We are bringing together two icons: the Saturn brand and the Penske organisation," said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn's general manager. "When completed, this deal will save more than 350 dealerships and over 13,000 jobs in the United States."
PAG has the second-largest dealer network in the US. The company is also the sole distributor of the Smart car in the country.
As for the question of exactly who is Roger Penske, well, in a nutshell he has numerous interests in automotive and motorsports related companies, but he is the guy who brought back to life companies like Detroit Diesel Corp and Hertz Truck Leasing. Making Saturn work could be a different proposition altogether. Last year it sold just 188,000 vehicles, down 27% on 2007 figures.