After its deal with Penske Automotive Group Inc. collapsed, General Motors announced late Wednesday that it will begin winding down the Saturn brand and its dealership network.

Citing concerns about the future supply of vehicles beyond the supply period it negotiated with GM, Penske Automotive terminated its discussions yesterday with GM to acquire the Saturn brand. Penske explained that the decision was not based on interactions with GM or Saturn retailers.

“This is very disappointing news and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality,” said Fritz Henderson, president and CEO of GM. “As a result of PAG’s decision, we will be winding down the Saturn brand and dealership network in accordance with the wind-down agreements that Saturn dealers recently signed with GM.”

Penske officials said the company was in negotiations with another source to manufacturer the vehicles beyond the period it negotiated with GM, but said the agreement was rejected by the manufacturer’s board of directors.

“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,” stated Penske’s press release.

Henderson said Saturn customers and vehicle owners will still be able to purchase and have their vehicles serviced at Saturn retailers during the process. He added that Saturn owners will also be able to have their vehicles serviced at other GM dealerships once the wind-down period ends in October 2010.