Could Magna’s Unique Business Model Lure Penske into Bringing the Astra Back to Life?

2009 Saturn Astra

Magna and its partner Russian bank Sberbank Rossii will own the majority of Opel once the deal is complete in the next few months. Despite having a concrete deal in place, Magna executives have already released information on a business strategy they hope to pursue. It is unique to the auto industry and could give Penske the opportunity to continue producing an Astra-like vehicle for Saturn.

Magna has proposed leasing Opel's platforms to other manufacturers. While the basic structure of the car would be the same for each manufacturer that leases the platform, according to Chairman Frank Stonach, Magna would "create firewalls separating parts making and vehicle assembly". This would cause the characteristics of the car to vary significantly in the remaining parts of production.

Will General Motors agree to this given the fact that they will still own a minority interest in Opel? GM requires that all new cars using their technologies be registered in their Global Technology Division. If the Global Technology Division grants permission, the company using it must pay royalties equal to 5% of their net revenues. However, GM has agreed to lower these rates to 3.25% until 2013. Magna will use this lower rate to sweeten the deal for outside manufacturers. Two companies have reportedly already shown an interest in Magna's business strategy including OpelPSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Ford. Could Penske be next?

Source: Automotive News

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Flashback Friday: The Last Saturn Ion

Flashback Friday: The Last Saturn Ion

You don't have to think too far back to remember when the subject of this week's "Flashback Friday" was built. While the anniversary of the first Saturn to roll off the assembly line in Spring Hill, Tennessee is next week, I thought that this week it would be fitting to feature the last Saturn ever built at that plant.