GM's preparations for bankruptcy means the company is looking to sell as many of its 'bad' assets as possible in order to raise capital and streamline operations. One of these is the Saturn brand, which the automaker confirmed would be sold by the end of the year and has already drawn several potential buyers.
One of those potential buyers is Roger Penske, the owner of the second-biggest U.S. dealer association Penske Automotive Group. Penske confirmed last month that he has an interest in the Saturn brand and recently his company hired ex-Chrysler president Tom LaSorda to advise on the bidding process.
It was then revealed that Penske was most likely planning to sell Renault-Samsung vehicles built in South Korea in the U.S. through the Saturn dealerships. According to sources, Penske met with the boss of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, and was keen to start importing several models, one of which is the QM5 midsize SUV. To be successful, Penske would need only about 250 of the total 384 Saturn dealerships across the U.S.
In the latest twist, people close to the matter have revealed to The Detroit News that Penske will be the likely buyer for the Saturn brand and announcement may come within the next 24 hours. The source also revealed that GM only has two or three remaining bids for Saturn and that one of the bidders intents on using Mitsubishi as its supplier for the brand.
Also rumored to be in the bidding for Saturn is investment group Telesto Ventures, Oklahoma City-based private equity firm Black Oak Partners, and Magna International.
GM’s only official comment is that it’s proceeding with plans to sell Saturn and that a number of potential buyers have surfaced and expressed interest in the brand and dealer network. Furthermore, GM will secure an agreement with a specific buyer later this year.