It Is Official: Penske to Buy Saturn, Transform it Into a Larger Global Brand

Roger Penske

Sharon Terlep and John Stoll from the Dow Jones Newswires: Each of General Motors' 350 US Saturn dealerships will receive offers to continue selling the vehicles under a tentative deal announced Friday to sell the brand to mega dealer Roger Penske. Penske, who runs the Penske Automotive Group chain of dealers, will take over the brands, trademarks, service and parts operations and distribution operations related to the Saturn. "We will have a completely independent company, and it will be lean," Penske said in a conference call with reporters Friday. In addition to taking over the retail network, Penske will strike deals with various auto makers, including GM and Renault, allowing him to buy vehicles from those auto makers' factories to fill out the Saturn vehicle portfolio. GM and Penske have a memorandum of understanding signed, and the deal is considered tentative at this point. Penske declined to disclose the price tag of the Saturn deal. He said the sale is expected to preserve around 13,000 jobs. Saturn, he said, would eventually grow to a global brand with more vehicles in its lineup. Short-term plans call for keeping the Outlook crossover, Aura sedan and Vue SUV. The Saturn Sky roadster won't continue.

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Mysterious Ohio Based Investment Group Arises as a Potential Buyer

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Update on May 7th: Leading negotiations for this group is Gary Marvicsin. Detroit News reports that he is employed in the auto industry.

Detroit News reports that there is a mysterious Ohio based investment group interested in acquiring Saturn. Unlike the other interested buyers, this group has developed a concept to keep the company domestically based. According to the article, the group is interested in purchasing domestically abandoned manufacturing plants to produce Saturns. Chrysler plants that are targeted to close due to bankruptcy troubles were specifically mentioned. The group wants to continue to employee UAW workers at these plants. While recognizing the high costs associated with employing union workers, such as benefits and pensions, the group believes that it is the right move for two reasons.