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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GM COO Fritz Henderson: We are Still "Evaluating Our Options," No Decision Yet on Saturn

Save Saturn

Now that General Motors has secured emergency financing via a loan from the U.S. Treasury, the company is putting its "complete focus" on meeting the requirements of the loan and developing a plan by the end of March that proves to the Government that it can evolve into a viable company, according to a story published Friday in Automotive News. The publication quoted GM COO Fritz Henderson as saying the company has still not made any decisions about Saturn, and that GM is still "evaluating our options."