Brand Spin-Offs Could See Boosted New Car Sales

Kelly Johnson from the Sacramento Business Journal: New corporate owners could boost Saturn, Hummer, and Saab sales, and help ease car-shoppers' concerns about future of the still-struggling brands. Saturn's pending purchase by Penske has support from dealers and consumers. They know of company chairman Roger Penske's success as a racecar driver and racing team owner, in truck rentals and with auto retailing. "Penske has a track record," said George Hoffer, a Virginia Commonwealth University economics professor who has written extensively on the auto industry. Dealers think there is a "very large chance of success under the new ownership," said Paul Taylor, chief economist with the National Automobile Dealers Association in Washington, DC. Saturn's strengths are that it has a lean dealer network, the most modern locations and the best product line of the GM brands that are being spun off, Hoffer said. The sale to Penske is expected to close in the third quarter, pending federal approval.

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Former Chrysler Executives Involved in Bidder Efforts to Save Saturn

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Last week, Penske Automotive Group disclosed to the media that it had secured former Chrysler President, Tom LaSorda, as an advisor for the deal. Similar news was unveiled yesterday by Telesto Ventures. The investor group has hired a team of advisors which are all, oddly enough, former executives at Chrysler. According to Telesto's CEO, John Pappanastos, "The Saturn brand has the opportunity to serve a significant role in transforming the auto industry. We have carefully selected a team of proven innovators who not only bring powerful thinking to the table, but also the critical execution skills that have enabled us to make significant progress in such a short amount of time."