Penske to Keep Saturn, Smart Brands Separate

Penske has signed a memorandum of understanding that would give his dealership chain, Penske Automotive Group, Saturn's 350 dealerships, the companies said. Penske told reporters that he expects to offer all the dealers new franchise agreements and will retain all 13,000 Saturn employees for the immediate term. Neither Penske nor GM would say how much Penske is paying for the brand. Penske said he expects the deal to close in the third quarter. Penske Automotive Group also distributes Daimler AG's Smart subcompacts in the U.S., but Smart has its own dealership network and Saturn dealers will continue to exclusively distribute Saturn vehicles, Penske said. Initially, GM will continue to make cars for Saturn for two years, Penske said. But he also said he is in talks with manufacturers around the world about building Saturn cars in the future. "We will be we'll be selling as many GM cars — a many GM-produced cars — under the Saturn brand as possible," Penske said.

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