Saturn Deal Didn’t Meet Renault’s Return Requirement

Sharon Terlep from the Dow Jones Newswires: Auto magnate Roger Penske believed he was taking over General Motors' Saturn brand until the very last moments, when France's Renault shocked both Penske and GM by backing out of an agreement to provide vehicles. Penske addressed the failed deal Friday as he announced Penske Automotive Group's quarterly financial results. The company also disclosed it took a $1.9 million third-quarter charge on the Saturn deal. "We believed we were making substantial progress toward an agreement," Penske said during a conference call with investors. At the last minute, he said, Renault decided the Saturn venture "did not meet their return requirement." Under their novel agreement, Penske would have taken over GM's network of Saturn dealers. The auto maker would have continued producing Saturn vehicles for about two years after which time Renault would take over production.

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Jill Lajdziak: We are Still Saturn

Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak

A letter from Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak: From our very beginning, Saturn has always sought a better way. We pioneered no haggle-no hassle shopping, built dent-resistant cars, set a new benchmark for customer service and forged a unique relationship with our retailers, workers and customers. From the beginning, Saturn was launched as a "Different kind of Car Company." Well, here we go again. You may have read that General Motors delivered a plan to the U.S. government that outlined the corporation's plan for long term viability. In that plan, GM stated that Saturn would work with its retailers to investigate options for the future of the Saturn brand. We said that all ideas were on the table and we meant it.