Roger Penske's Saturn Play is a Stroke of Genius, Creates a "Post-Modern" Auto Company

Roger Penske

Angus MacKenzie from Motor Trend: Auto plants cost staggering amounts of money to build and to run. And in an era where the manufacturing process no longer delivers major differentiators in terms of the finished product - all vehicles have to meet similar safety and fuel economy mandates, and the cost and quality differences between the best and the worst are getting smaller all the time - that's money many auto industry insiders wished they no longer had to spend. Which is why Roger Penske's Saturn play is a stroke of genius. With Saturn, Penske has the opportunity to create the first truly post-modern auto company. Penske's Saturn doesn't own a single factory, design studio, or proving ground. What it does own - and all it needs to own - is the intellectual property of the Saturn brand. Saturn could simply rebadge another manufacturer's existing model, paying for U.S. market certification costs and minor cosmetic changes, or it could commission an automaker to design, engineer and manufacture a complete new vehicle. Either way, it could bring new models to market for way less capital cost than a traditional automaker.

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