Penske-Saturn Deal on Track

Unlike its European counterpart Opel, American brand Saturn has not caused much of a stir in the States when it was put up for sale. And, again, unlike Magna's now uncertain takeover of Opel, Penske's deal seems to go as smooth as it can get. Roger Penske, the company's head, said he plans to conclude a deal with GM over Saturn by September.

"I think that we're past midfield with GM. There are always issues that you have to deal with, but I think we're progressing well," Roger Penske told analysts on a conference call, quoted by Autonews. "We've said that our goal is to close this transaction by the end of September, and we're prepared to do that," he said.

Penske and GM seem so far to have agreed on some of the terms stipulated in the tentative deal agreement. According to the document's provisions, the automaker would keep supplying Saturn with Aura, Vue and Outlook models until 2011, while Penske would buy rights to the Saturn brand and the inventory of replacement parts to be used for the around 3.5 million Saturn vehicles in operation.

As for the dealership network, Penske says his new group will offer deals to all of the 200 dealers working with Saturn.

"We do not expect to buy any of the existing retailers," he said. "As you know, Saturn has a world-class dealership network and we hope that most of them will join the new company."

The September deadline is back in reach after GM emerged from bankruptcy. While under Chapter 11, the talks between the two sides have been slowed by the shift of GM's priorities.

"One of the things that had to happen was that GM had to get through their bankruptcy," Penske said. "That was their first priority. Now they're looking at the divestitures of Hummer, Saab and Saturn."
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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