Saturn Deal Collapses After Renault-Nissan Backs Out

Samsung SM3

Tim Higgins from the Detroit Free Press: General Motors said today it would shut down Saturn after respected Detroit businessman Roger Penske shocked GM and 350 Saturn dealers by saying that his plans to buy the storied brand had fallen apart. The announcement came a day before GM and its dealers expected the deal to be finalized. The failure could cost as many as 13,000 jobs at dealerships nationwide and GM. Penske's plans for Saturn depended on securing another manufacturer to build future vehicles — a critical part of deal that fell apart when the board of directors for that unidentified automaker rejected the arrangement. That manufacturer was Renault-Nissan, a person close to the talks told the Free Press. "Renault has been in contact with Penske to supply cars, parts and technology to Saturn through an OEM agreement. The conditions for an agreement have not been found," a Renault spokeswoman, said in a statement. She declined further comment.

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Virtual Polymer Body-Side Panel Demonstration

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Over the years, one of Saturn's most impressive features was their innovative plastic polymer body panels that it used to cloth it's cars in. The panels resisted damage from small dents, dings, and minor bumps — they proved to be very popular among Saturn owners. The panels simply absorbed the impact, and bounced back into their original form. Back in the day, if you went to your local Saturn retailer, the sales folks would eagerly show you how well the panels worked by either pounding on the side of a car with their fists, or by inviting you to jump up and down on a sample door panel laying on the floor. No matter how hard you tried, the panels always went back to their original shape.