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Penske Breaks Off Talks with GM for Saturn, Brand to Go Away

Michelle Krebs from Edmunds Auto Observer: In a surprise move, Penske Automotive Group terminated discussions with General Motors to acquire Saturn due to its inability to secure agreements for the future supply of vehicles beyond what it had negotiated with GM. As a result, GM will wind down Saturn much as it is doing now with its Pontiac division.

GM to Close Saturn After Penske Ends Talks

From the Associated Press via MSNBC: GM will stop making Saturns as soon as possible, but no layoffs are expected, said spokeswoman Sherrie Childers Arb. GM had stopped building the Aura midsize sedan in Kansas City, Kansas, and will not resume assembling them. Production of the Outlook large crossover near Lansing, Michigan, and the Vue small crossover vehicle in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, will be phased out as soon as possible, she said.

General Motors to Wind Down Saturn Brand After Penske Halts Talks

Mike Ramsey and Bill Koenig from Bloomberg: General Motors will close Saturn, the brand created 24 years ago to mirror Japanese companies' carmaking, after Penske Automotive Group broke off discussions to buy the unit. Penske, operator of 310 auto retailers, backed out because of concern it wouldn't have access to cars and sport-utility vehicles after 2011 when GM was due to stop supplying them, Penske said in a statement. Renault SA's board rejected a deal to build cars for Saturn, a person familiar with the talks said.

GM Says it Will Close Saturn After Sale Falls Through

Ken Bensinger from the LA Times: General Motors' deal to sell Saturn to the Penske Automotive Group has fallen through, forcing the automaker to shutter the brand altogether. The sale had been expected to be completed as soon as this week.

Penske Calls Off Saturn Deal with GM

From the Detroit News: Detroit tycoon Roger Penske has terminated a deal with General Motors for the Saturn brand after Penske's prospective provider of new vehicles pulled out. The deal broke down after the Renault-Nissan Alliance decided Wednesday not to proceed with a deal to supply Penske with future vehicles for Saturn dealers, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Detroit Free Press: Penske to Close Saturn Deal Wednesday, Jill Lajdziak Said to be Retiring from GM

Tim Higgins from the Detroit Free Press: Detroit businessman and booster Roger Penske is on track to close a deal to buy General Motors' Saturn division on Wednesday, the Free Press learned today. The official announcement could come Thursday. Several signs point to a final deal soon: Jill Lajdziak, Saturn's general manager, has asked for an early retirement package from GM, an indication that she is leaving, a person familiar with her decision said.

Retailers Have Plenty of Resolve

Saturn of Decatur

Tom Walsh from the Detroit Free Press: At Saturn of Warren, general sales manager Kevin Bilski said people were stunned in December when GM said it would sell or discard Saturn. "It was like being told your parents don't love you anymore," he said. But folks perked up a few months later when Roger Penske expressed interest in Saturn. Penske hasn't closed the purchase deal with GM yet or gone public with his plan for the brand's future, "but just that name Penske brings a lot of positive press," Bilski said. "GM never knew what to do with Saturn. We were the redheaded stepchild," said Carl Galeana, 57, vice president of the Galeana Auto Group that his father, Frank, founded in 1974.

It Really is a Different Car Company

Steve Finlay from Ward's Dealer Business: The GM-Penske deal that saves Saturn is considered good news for an industry seeing too much unpleasantness lately, from vehicle sales in a free fall to auto makers in bankruptcy. But few people realize the full implication of the reprieve. One who does is Jack Nerad, Kelly Blue Book's executive market analyst and editorial director.

Penske Bets Legacy on Saturn

Lou Whiteman from thedeal.com: Penske is a believer in Saturn, and has put his money where his mouth is. His Penske Automotive Group over the summer struck a deal to pay an undisclosed sum (believed to be less than $200 million) to acquire Saturn, hopeful of reusing a strategy that has worked for its Smart car unit: becoming a "virtual automaker" that contracts out manufacturing to a foreign supplier while focusing on sales, service, and marketing. Smart has succeeded in part because it offered a product (an ultra-compact and fuel-efficient vehicle) that was largely unavailable in the marketplace.

NY Times: Detroit’s Mr. Fix-It Takes on Saturn

In Mr. Penske's view, Saturn is a potential jewel to be plucked from the scrap heap of GM's bankruptcy. By early next month, his company, the Penske Automotive Group, is expected to complete its acquisition of Saturn from GM. After that, it plans to try to reinvent the brand as an independent chain of dealerships.

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Jill Lajdziak Deserves Kudos for Addressing the General Motors Restructuring Plan Directly with the Saturn Community

ImSaturn Logo

Less than 24 hours after General Motors announced it was planning to "explore alternatives" for Saturn, the brand's general manager, Jill Lajdziak, spoke directly to the Saturn community by way of her ImSaturn blog to address the issue. While she couldn't go into too much detail due to the sensitive and complex nature of the situation, Jill did explain what the immediate next steps are for Saturn. And she also promises more updates in the future.