Penske Breaks Off Talks with GM for Saturn, Brand to Go Away

Michelle Krebs from Edmunds Auto Observer: In a surprise move, Penske Automotive Group terminated discussions with General Motors to acquire Saturn due to its inability to secure agreements for the future supply of vehicles beyond what it had negotiated with GM. As a result, GM will wind down Saturn much as it is doing now with its Pontiac division. In a statement issued by the Penske Group late Wednesday, on the eve of the expected close of the deal, the auto retailing group cited "concerns directly related to the future supply of vehicles beyond the supply period it had negotiated with GM." Retailers who had signed franchise agreements for the new Penske-run Saturn group were as shocked as anyone. They were scheduled to attend meetings with company founder Roger Penske next week, after the deal was closed, to hear about plans for product and timing. Instead, they head through the media - not the Penske group, Saturn or GM - that the deal had fallen apart. Some are hoping something can be salvaged of the plan.

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Saturn Sales Decline in July Inline with Industry; Aura, Sky, Astra Sales Increased Last Month

Saturn sales were down 13.6% in July, despite higher sales of the brand's newly revitalized and fuel-efficient car lineup. The jump in sales by the Astra, Sky, and Aura, though, wasn't enough to offset the sales gap left by the discontinued Ion sedan and quad coupe. As a result, Saturn's car sales fell 12.7% last month compared to July 2007.