Report: Penske Automotive Group Evaluating Renault Samsung SM3 as Possible New Saturn

Samsung SM3

Representatives from Penske Automotive Group are in Korea this month at Renault Samsung's technical center reviewing and evaluating the company's SM3 compact car (pictured on the right) for possible export to the United States, according to a story published yesterday in South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

The SM3 would be badged as a new Saturn small car. Exports could "begin at the end of next year or early 2011," a Renault Samsung spokesman told the paper.

Penske signed a memorandum of understanding with General Motors in early June to purchase the Saturn brand from the company. Sources tell that both sides are working hard to complete the transaction this quarter, with some rumors indicating that the deal could be done as soon as next week. Terms of the sale reportedly call for GM to build cars for Saturn until at least 2011, at which point Penske would be responsible for sourcing vehicles from other manufacturers.

Renault Samsung is just one of the manufacturers that could be selected to build cars for Saturn.

An agreement to bring the four-door SM3 to the U.S. would "enable Renault Samsung to boost its production capacity to 300,000 cars a year." The newspaper says that if Penske "can sell 10,000 SM3s a month through Saturn's 400 dealerships in North America, its production will double from the current 140,000 - 150,000 units a year."

Source: Chosun Ilbo

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