Speculation on Renault's interest in Saturn has been circulating since GM's bankruptcy filing began looking like a certainty, but it was Roger Penske's Penske Automotive Group that won the bid to buy the carmaker. Now, however, Renault may yet get a chance at some involvement, with confirmation from the French carmaker today that Penske is working on a deal to supply Renault cars to Saturn for the U.S.
The parts and car-sharing arrangement would not be a Renault-Nissan deal, however, reports Automotive News. Instead, it would strictly be the Renault side of the alliance working with Saturn. That opens the door to completely new and unique product for Saturn as far as American buyers are concerned.
It also side-steps the potentially deal-breaking brand competition between Nissan and Saturn that might otherwise result.
There remains at least another month of work on Penske's deal to buy Saturn, however, and though Renault has confirmed it is in discussion with Penske, no details are being released. Other deals with as yet unnamed carmakers are also being pursued, according to Saturn spokesman Tony Pordon.
Penske will definitely need to find some sort of manufacturing partner for Saturn, because the Penske Group's purchase of Saturn doesn't include any of the manufacturing facilities where the current cars are built.
Earlier reports of the Renault-Saturn tie-up included hints at the import of Renault-Samsung vehicles from South Korea, rather than the French-made cars sold as Renaults in Europe. Whatever the source of the cars, however, it is clear that the Saturn brand will be making some major changes in order to stay in the game.