Saturn fans will be saddened to hear that the brand is about to be history. Penske Automotive Group (PAG) and General Motors have been in the final stages of negotiations to transfer the brand, but late this afternoon, both parties issued statements that Penske was walking away from the deal.
The reason cited by Penske for the deal's demise is difficulty in securing a supply of product beyond the end of 2010. GM had agreed to continue supplying the Outlook, Aura and Vue until the end of next year, at which point Penske would get other automakers to produce vehicles to sell through the Saturn dealer network.
It was originally believed that Penske had a deal with Renault, possibly supplying vehicles from its South Korean subsidiary, Renault-Samsung Motors. However, the other automaker's board of directors rejected the deal, leaving Penske out in the cold. In the wake of the news, GM announced that it would wind down Saturn and close all the dealerships. After Saturn dealers close, Saturn owners will be able to get service from other GM dealers. You can read the official statements from both Penske and GMchronicling the demise of Saturn after the jump.
[Sources: Penske Automotive Group, General Motors | Image Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty]
Penske Automotive Terminates Discussions with General Motors to Acquire Saturn
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE: PAG) an international automotive retailer, today announced that it has terminated its discussions with General Motors Company ("GM") to acquire the Saturn brand, citing concerns directly related to the future supply of vehicles beyond the supply period it had negotiated with GM.
Since announcing its discussions with GM on June 5, 2009, the company has been in the due diligence process to determine the feasibility of developing an independent distribution model for Saturn-branded products and service parts in the United States, including the sourcing of vehicles from GM and other potential suppliers. The company had negotiated a definitive agreement with GM to source vehicles on a contract-manufactured basis for a period of time. After this period, the company would have been required to source vehicles from another third party under a similar contract-manufacturing agreement.
Penske Automotive Group negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement with another manufacturer; however, that agreement was rejected by that manufacturer's board of directors. Without that agreement, the company has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibit the company from moving forward with this transaction.
General Motors Media Statement Attributed President & CEO Fritz Henderson
Today we learned that Penske Automotive Group (PAG) has decided to terminate discussions with General Motors to acquire Saturn. This is very disappointing news and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality. PAG's announcement explained that their decision was not based on interactions with GM or Saturn retailers; rather it was because of the inability to source new products beyond what it had asked GM to build on contract.
As a result of PAG's decision, we will be winding down the Saturn brand and dealership network, in accordance with the wind-down agreements that Saturn dealers recently signed with GM. Pursuant to the terms of those agreements, the wind down process will be determined and communicated shortly.
Saturn customers and owners will continue to be able to purchase and have their vehicles serviced at Saturn retailers during this process. Once the wind down is complete, Saturn owners will still be able to have their vehicles serviced at other GM dealerships. We will be communicating with our customers very soon to explain the next steps in this process.
Today's disappointing news comes at a time when we'd hoped for a successful launch of the Saturn brand into a new chapter. We will be working closely with our dealers to ensure Saturn customers are cared for as we transition them to other GM dealers in the months ahead. I'd also like to thank every GM employee and Saturn retailer who worked so hard to try to make this new beginning happen for Saturn.