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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Overall Saturn Sales Down 3.5% in August, While the Vue Skyrockets 46%

Saturn's overall August sales fell 3.5% last month as retailers sold 20,385 vehicles, down from 21,117 in August of '07. Comparatively speaking, thought, the brand more than held its own in a very tough market. GM's overall sales were down 20.3% last month, Ford fell 26.5%, Toyota's were down 9.4%, and even Honda's sales came in 7.3% lower.