Thursday, October 1, 2009
The proposed sale of GM's Saturn division to Penske has collapsed and it looks like the Saturn brand will head for the dust-bin. That's too bad. They had a great one price concept, but "corporate" never really set them free to follow through. In the end it became just another wasted GM brand.
If anyone might have had a chance to make it work it would have been someone like Roger Penske, who has a long history in the auto business but is still enough of an outsider. The Detroit Free Press reports that the main reason for Penske walking was an inability to find anyone (Renault, in particular) to build the next generation Saturn once the transition services agreement with GM would expire.
Penske said it had negotiated a deal to get products manufactured by another company but that agreement had fallen apart.
“That agreement was rejected by that manufacturer's board of directors,” Penske said in a statement. “Without that agreement, the company has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibit the company from moving forward with this transaction.”
I guess the manufacturer didn't see much of a future there. So another GM brand will go away. GM is still negotiating with a consortium of Swedish and Chinese investors over the future of the Saab brand. The sale of Opel to Magna looks set to sign next week. That leaves only the "brand that shall not be named" hanging on for the time being.