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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Flashback Friday: 2000 Saturn CV1 Concept

Flashback Friday: 2000 Saturn CV1 Concept

The CV1 - so named because it was Saturn's first real concept vehicle - explored new vehicle packaging and design features, many of which would end up playing an important role as Saturn grew its product lineup. Notable features found on the CV1 that eventually made it into production on other Saturn vehicles were the center-mounted instrument cluster (Ion), continuously variable transmission (Ion and Vue), flat-folding passenger seat (Vue), all-wheel-drive (Vue and Outlook), and LED tail-lights (Aura).