• May 6th 2009 at 1:26PM
  • 63
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, General Motors is working on a deal with Renault to hand over Saturn, providing the French automaker with a "launching pad" to expand into North America. The WSJ's sources say that the deal with GM would allow Renault and its South Korean subsidiary, Samsung Motors, to sell its wares in the States though the existing retailers, possibly marketing the new vehicles as Saturns and building some of the vehicles using the General's underutilized plants. How the deal would flesh out financially remains to be seen, but there's a chance that Renault would acquire Saturn for no cash down – not surprising considering GM said it essentially plans to cancel the brand – but the French automaker would need to take on Saturn's liabilities and production costs. We're not entirely sure how acquiring a brand that could compete with Renault-owned Nissan in the U.S. would be in the best interests of the company overall, not to mention Saturn's track-record of marketing "European" vehicles in North America.

On the Geely front, the Chinese automaker is one of "three to four" serious bidders for Saab (as opposed to the ten reported yesterday), and comes a few weeks after Geely's bid for Volvo. Geely execs traveled to Trollhatten in the last few weeks, joined by nine other suitors, and the WSJ hypothesizes that Geely could be pushing for a deal with Saab as a way to put pressure on FoMoCo to get serious about the Chinese automaker's bid for Volvo. Regardless of Geely's apparent love of Sweden, expect a deal to be inked on Saab's future owners early this summer. Top tip throwback.

[Source: WSJ]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm thinking more along the lines of Renault using Saturn to push the Magane and Clio into the US Market... they previously discussed bringing them in as Nissans, but they just don't fit in as Nissan's.

      Personally... I thought GM-Saturn was on its way to being a full on 100% Hybrid provider... so they could do that or maybe become a nitch/economical brand to go along side Nissan (Performance) and Infiniti (Luxury).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Isn't the Nissan Versa basically a rebadged, assless Megane?
        • 6 Years Ago
        No reason they can't build Renaults in Korea and ship them to the US.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So, I guess Saabs will be built crappier than they are now, if they are taken by a Chinese manufacturer. Idk if this is good for both brands honestly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm expecting the Samsung QM5 and recently reveiled SM3 and maybe even the Dancia to be badged as Saturns and the Clio and Megane to come as Renaults as hatchback consumers like European brands and don't care if Renault is perceived as "unreliable", they just buy the car cause they like it (see MINI and Golf/GTI owners). the Clio and Megane can also be manufactured alongside the NA Versas and Sentras in Mexico.

      Saturn doesn't need big cars.

      Oh and NO the Versa has NOTHING in common with the Megane. Clio and Versa share platforms (B) and Sentra and Megane share platform (C).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Renaults, with poor reliability and poor build quality, will not sell well in the US. Slapping a Saturn badge on them won't change that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Jared

        > Renaults, with poor reliability and poor build quality, will not sell well in the US. Slapping a Saturn badge on them won't change that.

        What Renault is proposing is the distribution of Renault Korea's models from Korea, but Renault Proper from Europe.

        Renault Korea's models have a reputation for very high quality and you are looking at Honda-level quality right now.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Unfortunately, Renault is still at the back of the back in Europe when it comes to reliability. Here in the US, Renault's corporate partner, Nissan, still has reliability that significantly trails that of the industry leader.

        Is Renault better than before? Yes. Is it where it needs to be? No. That may be good enough in Paris, France, but it isn't good enough in Paris, Illinois.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Renaults have VASTLY improved in reliability, build quality and perceived quality since 2005 (quite easy though after the horrid 2000-2004 period, especially with diesels). Many of their cars come now with a 3-year/100,000-mile warranty (at least in Europe).

        But I got to agree we should wait a few more years to confirm that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually Renault suck in many customer satisfaction surveys because

        1) there are many Renaults coming from the 2000-2004 period remaining on the roads (many reliability issues like broken turbo or defective 'exhaust gas recirculation' control valves on 1,9 litre & 2,2 litre dCi engines), and

        2) poor dealer service (seems to be improving though).
      • 6 Years Ago
      So Penske won't get to buy Saturn.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I dont think it likely that Nissan USA would be too excited about the prospect of Renault Samsung selling its wares in the USA... I can see a case for the small SUV (the QM5) but the other three Samsung models (SM3/5/7) are based on the Sentra and Nissan Teana respectively. The first being redundant, and the 5/7 cannabalizing the Altima, which is a big volume car... None of the Samsung models make for a great case in the US market unless priced incredibly cheap either. They are alright in the artificially-retarded Korean domestic market against the Hyundai/KIA FWD sedans, but are ugly and would be out of place in America. They continue to mutate into $15Kish pseudo lux sedans and nick the better received Nissan and Infiniti design cues to make frankenstein FWD i4 overstyled sdeans.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Drew

        > I can see a case for the small SUV (the QM5) but the other three Samsung models (SM3/5/7) are based on the Sentra and Nissan Teana respectively.

        SM series are redesigned on non-Nissan platforms. No legal issues there.

      • 6 Years Ago
      I would rather see PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) make a bid for Saturn and truly round out our options with a full-range of cars.

      I'm surprised they haven't shown interest, especially since they've repeatedly threatened to return to the North American market. Here's their chance!

      • 6 Years Ago
      Leave Saab alone Geely.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Which means, "let Saab die".
        • 6 Years Ago
        I dunno. I'm kind of curious to see how a Saab Happy Chrysanthemum 9000-5 would turn out.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Geely might not be able to make Saab better in the sense of giving it technical assistance, but it can definitely help Saab pack more into each car for the same amount of money by sharing parts purchases from suppliers, and hooking them up with cheaper suppliers in China.

        Assuming that the Saab engineering team gets to keep doing what they're doing it could help Saab out quite a bit.

        At any rate it's not like Saab has all that many alternatives lol.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ the MVP X

        Making it "batter" might be easy as cake.
        • 6 Years Ago
        C'mon, you know that Geely can't make Saab batter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Some models which Renault could sell in North America;
      Laguna station wagon (diesel version), Megane (diesel and gas versions), Clio (gas versions), and the Espace (diesel version).

      None of those would compete with Nissan products.

      I think they would do well, as long Saturn/Renault don't reformat them to suit American tastes; keep them as they are in Europe, and you could see sales climb.

      I, however am not holding my breath.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "We're not entirely sure how acquiring a brand that could compete with Renault-owned Nissan in the U.S. would be in the best interests of the company overall"
      C'mon Autoblog, do you do any critical thinking? Ford manages to do it just fine with its controlling interest in Mazda, I don't see why Renault can't manage the same way with Nissan.

      "not to mention Saturn's track-record of marketing "European" vehicles in North America."
      Then who better to try doing it successfully than Renault?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Critical thinking causes us to assess the fact that Ford's stake was relatively low compared to a wholly-owned Renault entity that may or may not have any brand distinction. And of course, Ford's stake WAS only 33% -- enough for a seat on the board -- and it's now down to 13%.

        As for "who better?" We could name a few, but in this market, at this time, there aren't many... if any.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love how people constanstly slam european makers like Saab, Fiat and Renault, What about American makers, have they always built problem free cars?

      Anyone remember the Pinto and Vega?

      Id like to see Renaults in Saturn Dealers, I always thought Renault would make a good partner for Chrysler, Im happy with the Fiat partnership.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Look at the Megane smile! It's piercing eyes and it's sinister mouth smiling like it means to kill you. It's so cute!
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