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 in the memorandum of understanding, 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.
The Penske Automotive Group is the second-largest U.S. dealer group with 156 franchises in the U.S. and 148 internationally. While it hasn’t been revealed what Penske has in store for Saturn, company founder Roger Penske has revealed to Automotive News that he hopes to retain Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak as well as form a position for retiring Chrysler co-President Tom LaSorda. Penske recently hired LaSorda to advise on the bidding process for Saturn.
Penske also confirmed that he was in discussions with "a number of worldwide manufacturers" to broaden Saturn’s lineup. It was previously reported 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 would be the QM5 midsize SUV.
Penske and Saturn currently have a 60-day due diligence period and will need to meet certain requirements tied to GM's bankruptcy case. The actual sale is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the agreement will be disclosed at a later date.