The deal will allow the embattled automaker more flexibility as it works 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
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.