Detroit News: GM Board Concerned About Competition from Revived Saturn

Robert Snell, David Shepardson and Christine Tierney from the Detroit News: Some Saturn dealers hoped the deal could be revived and spare a brand that appeared to have been rescued this summer when Penske announced he had reached a memorandum of understanding with GM. "Anytime you have deals of this magnitude, things can happen at the last second," said Grand Blanc-area dealer Joe Serra. "Give it 48 hours and see what comes of it. Maybe they can resolve whatever issue it was. If anyone can resolve it, (Penske's) the one." GM said it would give dealers money to gradually shutter their stores and sell remaining inventory before the franchise agreements expire at the end of October 2010. Saturn dealers came to an arrangement this year with GM that allowed their franchise agreements to expire, a GM spokesman said. Stephen Spivey, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan's office in San Antonio, said the cost of closing Saturn dealerships is an incentive for GM to find another buyer. "Because of that alone, a sale to a different buyer is a virtual certainty," he said. "The Saturn dealer network is still a valuable asset. Many companies would love to sell cars in the U.S., and GM is sure to have no shortage of interest among global automakers." But sources close to the negotiations said some members of GM's board were concerned that the deal would create a competitor to the U.S. automaker's remaining mass market car brands.

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More Information About the Saturn Astra Test Drive Event

Saturn Astra - the all-new sport compact car with European-bred driving dynamics - arrives at retail facilities early next year. But enthusiasts who want to be among the first to see, feel and drive the Astra can participate in one of 14 test drive programs held this fall across the United States, between October 12th and December 13th.