General Motors to Kill Saturn After Promising Deal Falls Apart, Retailers Devistated

Ken Bensinger and Tiffany Hsu from the LA Times: In a surprise development, General Motors said it would kill its Saturn brand after a deal to sell it to an auto dealership chain fell through at the eleventh hour. In June, GM formally announced that Penske had outbid other suitors for the brand and that the deal would save the 13,000 Saturn jobs, most of them at dealerships. But in the end, said Anthony Pordon, senior vice president at Penske, "there were hurdles we found out that we couldn't surpass." According to Penske, it had worked out "terms and conditions" of a deal with the third-party manufacturer, but it was rejected by the board of directors at the last minute. Pordon said Penske had no backup supplier. "You try to negotiate on an exclusive basis," he said. GM spokesman Tom Pyden said that about 50 GM employees would lose their jobs with Saturn's demise. None would be in manufacturing, because the plants that make the Saturn vehicles – in Kansas, Michigan and Mexico – also build other vehicles. "This is financial ruin for me and my family," said Todd Ingersoll, who owns two Saturn dealerships in Connecticut and appeared in a GM commercial this spring proclaiming that the brand was "still here." Ingersoll, who completely remodeled his dealerships at GM's insistence several years ago, said he now must find a new business.

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Saturn to Bring Back Innovative 'Quad Coupe' Doors

A couple of days ago General Motors' Opel brand unveiled a new hybrid concept – called the Flextreme – at the 2007 International Motor Show in Frankfurt. Multiple sources who reported from the show wrote that Saturn is expected to unveil a near-identical version of this concept at either the upcoming Los Angeles or Detroit auto shows.