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General Motors, Penske Reach Tentative Deal Over Saturn

June 5, 2009

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. and Penske Automotive Group confirmed last Friday a tentative deal for GM to sell its Saturn brand to the dealer group.

If completed, the deal would save more than 350 dealerships and 13,000 jobs at Saturn and its retailers in the United States, and would preserve the customer-focused Saturn brand.

The proposed transaction is part of GM’s rebuilding efforts outlined in the viability plan that was submitted to the U.S. government earlier this year. Under the terms of the agreement, Penske would obtain the rights to the brand as well as certain other Saturn assets. GM would continue production, on a contract basis, of the Saturn Aura, Vue and Outlook.

“This is the combination of two iconic teams: Saturn and Penske,” said Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak. “GM had the vision to create Saturn and has the desire to see it succeed in the future.”

“Saturn has a passionate customer base and outstanding dealer network,” said Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Automotive Group. “For nearly 20 years Saturn has focused on treating the customer right. We share that philosophy, and we want to build on those strengths.”

Penske is the second-largest publicly-traded automotive retailer in the United States as measured by total revenue.

Saturn began selling cars in 1990 and has sold more than 4 million vehicles. More than 80 percent of those vehicles are still in operation, according to data from R.L. Polk. Saturn has regularly scored among the industry leaders for non-luxury brands in customer satisfaction surveys.

“There has been a groundswell of support for Saturn, with our retailers and owners urging us to save the brand,” said Lajdziak. “We heard their call loud and clear, and it inspired us as we worked to secure Saturn’s future.”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Neither GM nor Penske would say how much the dealer group is paying for the brand.

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