Saturn Deal Could’ve Been Boost for Renault-Nissan

Samsung QM5 Sport-Utility

Greg Gardner from the Detroit Free Press: French automaker Renault and Japanese partner Nissan have been trying to strengthen their position in North America since forming an alliance 10 years ago, and Detroit businessman Roger Penske's vision for Saturn seemed to be a good fit. Nissan has not grown in the United States as fast as Toyota or Honda. Renault left the U.S. market in 1989, two years after it sold American Motors, which once built Jeeps, to Chrysler. Together, the Renault-Nissan alliance has created the fifth-largest automaker globally, after Toyota, General Motors, Ford Motor, and Volkswagen. Nissan helped improve Renault's productivity. Renault's global purchasing scale helped Nissan pay less for its parts. Renault also owns 80.1% of South Korean automaker Renault Samsung Motors, and Penske had plans to import Samsung vehicles for sale through Saturn dealerships, the trade publication Automotive News previously reported. At least four Samsung vehicles have been engineered from Nissan underbodies. Penske has demonstrated a knack for carrying out innovative strategies in the commercial truck and logistics markets. Renault-Nissan was an attractive partner. Perhaps there was too much overlap between the vehicles sold by Saturn and Nissan. In that sense, Renault-Nissan may have been moving into the similar dilemma that led to many of GM's problems: too many similar products covering too many similar brands.

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Plug-In Vue Hybrid Previewed at "Plug-In 2008" Convention

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Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-In Hybrid

GMnext contributor Matt Kelly talked to Larry Nitz, GM's executive director of powertrain engineering, at "Plug-In 2008" in San Jose, California last month about the upcoming Saturn Vue Plug-In Hybrid. He was excited by what he heard and saw. "The vehicle's lithium-ion battery will allow it to double its fuel economy for about 20 miles," Kelly wrote on the GMnext blog.