• Jun 5, 2009
Confirming a report we posted on earlier today, General Motors has reached a preliminary agreement to handover the Saturn marque to the Penske Automotive Group. In GM's official statement after the jump, the automaker says that the memorandum of understanding would entitle Penske to the brand's 350+ dealerships, the rights to the name and its associated iconography, as well as continued production of the Aura, Vue, and Outlook on a contract basis. As expected, the dormant Astra hatchback and the rakish Sky roadster will apparently not make the transition. No financial terms of the deal have been released.

As reported earlier today by The New York Times, that abbreviated Saturn lineup will likely be joined by vehicles procured from other overseas automakers, potentially Renault's Samsung Motors division in Korea. It is not immediately clear if Penske will use the opportunity to pair existing Saturn stores with the company's other automotive distribution channel, Smart.

According to GM, the agreement is expected to be consummated in the third quarter of this year, pending the necessary paperwork shuffling between the two companies and the federal government. Check out the official press release after the jump

[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE:

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.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Awww, that caption made me a little sad - like seeing the runt of the litter being left behind to die as mom and the other babies leave the burrow.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's exactly how I felt after I read it. :(
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice, so they're ditching the two good/decent vehicles Saturn sells and keeping the trash. That's not an especially encouraging start. It's a shame Penske didn't get the plant where they build the Kappas and the tooling and do production of the Sky as a Saturn exclusive, maybe with a redesigned top and as a coupe.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's definitely understandable why the Astra is being discontinued. It's just a shame the replacement model won't be going to Saturn most likely. The fact the plant is being closed is why it's a particular shame Penske won't be getting it. GM has no viable replacement for the Kappa, so it is odd they are discontinuing it entirely. But since they are it might as well go to someone that could conceivably do something with it.

        On the other hand, Penske is probably not interested in being part of the mess that is producing cars.

        That said, practical concerns aside, it is still a shame that the products that are staying all kinda suck.
        falcon5768
        • 5 Years Ago
        um not for nothing but the aura is a GREAT car, certainly better than the Malibu that GM badge engineered off of it.

        and all three sell more than the Astra or the Sky

        That being said, the Kappa platform is completely being closed down (as is its plant) and the Astra was a import from Europe and expensive, while the Vue is from Mexico and cheap to import.

        So there are legitimate economic reasons for Penske to keep the platforms he is and ditch the others no matter what people say.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So what is this going to do with Penske's relationship with Porsche? Also the fact they run Honda engines in the IRL.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nothing. Penske has a relationship with about 40 manufacturers through his dealer network. He is an 800lb gorilla in the automotive world and is not chained to Porsche or Honda in any way.
      • 5 Years Ago
      'rakish'? What's rakish about the Sky?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Da know, I'm just to hearing Rakish used with a negative connotation. And I think the Sky is the most beautiful roadster in decades.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The car is pretty sad compared to what it replaced anyway. I'd much rather have a VX-220/Speedster than just another Miata clone. Lotus probably wouldn't have given up the tooling for production in the USA though :(

        • 5 Years Ago
        So, you'd rather have an Elise clone (which it is) than a Miata clone (which it's not.)

        I prefer an actual Elise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It does not look like a rake to me either :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      out of curiosity why do you guys think they chose not to get the sky in that line up as well?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because Kappa is in limbo.

        Opel GT (re-badged Sky) ->Magna?

        Saturn Sky -> Penske

        Pontiac Solstice -> Purgatory?

        Daewoo (another re-badged Sky) -> Ether?


        Who exactly would keep the Kappa tooling, to be able to keep producing any of those cars, and would they be profitable without the platform sharing across brands and markets?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a low selling profit eater...
      • 5 Years Ago
      The new Opel Astra is sweet looking!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Um ... shouldn't GM be reducing capacity instead of creating and shifting it to a competitor?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Needs more SKY.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Penske! re-make the SKY! make it bigger and better! use the 370z platform if you have to.... just make us a good RWD roadster! please!
        • 5 Years Ago
        It doesn't need to be bigger. It could benefit from some better, however.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No!!!!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm saying no because I wanted the Sky to live.

        fyi. lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        "It is not immediately clear if Penske will use the opportunity to pair existing Saturn stores with the company's other automotive distribution channel, Smart."

        And name it into...Smarturn or Satmart.

        How about...Stuart?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Sky, while very cool, never really fit the original vision of the Saturn concept. I understand why it is being cut, although it does not make me happy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Sky was the nicer version
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like where this is going.

      If Penske-Saturn is able to act as an importer/marketer of cars that otherwise wouldn't be sold in the US, then this new entity could bring us a few more choices that we didn't have before.

      And because they apparently don't plan to manufacture anything themselves, it allows them to be a "free agent" and contract with whoever in the world can provide the best cars.

      We live in interesting automotive times.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I forsee the Federalizing, crash testing, etc part of that to be a nightmare. It's hard enough as it is to complete that stuff for a single model of car(or even a whole brand).

        But to go through all of that for who knows how many different brands and models with all of their different engines that will need to be Federalized as well? That's a whole other bag of marbles. They're better off sticking with a single brand of cars with their shared engines and shared platforms than mixing and matching models to build a company.

        Sounds like reselling Saturns is the smartest part of the whole deal. The hard work is already done with those cars.

        Basically, if it were as easy as it sounds, someone would have already done it, or at least attempted. There's a reason a lot of those cars we don't get are not available here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The reasons that Sky/Solstice are dying:

      1) GM can't sell enough to make them profitable – and so...

      B) They are closing the plant that makes them. http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20090601/BUSINESS/90601011/GM+to+close+Del.+s+Boxwood+Road+plant
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