Penske Runs into Saturn’s Historic Wall: Product

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Lindsay Chappell from Automotive News: Roger Penske's 11th-hour decision to pass on acquiring General Motors' Saturn brand marks a sad continuation of the same problem that has dogged Saturn for a decade: a lack of products. Penske had the bold proposal of keeping Saturn alive by creating a virtual automaker. GM was not going to sell Penske any auto factories, and Penske was happy not to have to own any. In taking over the ownership of the Saturn brand name, Penske would get a logo, parts inventories and a field staff – but no designers, stylists, engineers or r&d labs. That meant Penske's staff would have to perpetually wander the earth seeking other automakers to make cars of Penske's description and specifications for Saturn showrooms. In canceling the deal Wednesday afternoon, Penske told GM that it had become apparent – after a single proposed third-party automaker had nixed the deal – that his "virtual automaker" proposal was too risky and uncertain.

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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.