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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General Motors "Never Knew What to Do" with Saturn

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In an article about Saturn, NASDAQ reported that retailer Carl Galeana told the Detroit Free Press earlier this week that "GM has totally mismanaged this brand." He added, "if it's a failed brand, it's because GM never knew what to do with it."