With "Golden Touch" Saturn Can Survive on Its Own

Don Hammonds from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Saturn's purchase by Mr. Penske may be its best asset. "The Penske organization owning the distribution and name is a major, major plus. He has a golden touch with anything he's connected with," Detroit-based independent auto analyst Tom Libby said. The major challenge, he said, is giving a customer a compelling reason to buy a Saturn rather than another vehicle. "If the answer is superior customer experience, I'd respond by saying that it is not clear that message is strong enough to give them market share. It's not clear you can grow by more than 2% with that message." Much will also depend upon what products Mr. Penske chooses to bring in from overseas to replace the current lineup when the agreement with GM to produce Saturns expires in 2011.

Mr. Libby expects Mr. Penske to be very picky and exacting about products from Europe, Asia and elsewhere. "He's a shrewd businessman. He has to have his standards met with his products, or he will have issues," he added. One of the cars mentioned most often as a possible Saturn is the Renault Megane, and if that's true, it's a good move, Mr. Gluckman said. "I've driven the new Megane, which I hear they may bring over. It's a good car, and there's good potential with that," he added.

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Plant Talks Continue Past Strike Deadline

The Kansas City Star reports that workers at General Motors' Fairfax Assembly Plant at agreed to work past a previously set Friday afternoon strike deadline. "The UAW has agreed to give a 12-hour notice prior to any strike action," Ben Ippolito, the GM Fairfax plant spokesman told the paper. "GM remains committed to bargaining in good faith and reaching an agreement as soon as possible."