GM 'Winds Down' Saturn Brand
DETROIT - With Penske Automotive Group (PAG) no longer acquiring Saturn, General Motors President and CEO Fritz Henderson announced in an Oct. 1 statement that GM will "wind down" the brand and dealership network.
The news comes less than four months after PAG announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with General Motors regarding the Saturn brand. Had the transaction been completed, "Penske Automotive Group would obtain the rights to the Saturn brand, acquire certain assets including the Saturn parts inventory, and have the right to distribute vehicles and parts through the Saturn Dealership network. General Motors would continue to provide Saturn Aura, Vue and Outlook vehicles, on a contract basis, for an interim period," according to the June 5 PAG statement.
"Today's disappointing news comes at a time when we'd hoped for a successful launch of the Saturn brand into a new chapter," said Henderson. "We will be working closely with our dealers to ensure Saturn customers are cared for as we transition them to other GM dealers in the months ahead.
Henderson said PAG did not base its decision on interactions with GM or Saturn retailers, but because of "the inability to source new products beyond what it had asked GM to build on contract."
According to a Sept. 30 PAG statement, Penske "had negotiated a definitive agreement with GM to source vehicles on a contract-manufactured basis for a period of time. After this period, the company would have been required to source vehicles from another third party under a similar contract-manufacturing agreement. Penske Automotive Group negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement with another manufacturer; however, that agreement was rejected by that 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."
GM will wind down the Saturn brand and dealership network in accordance with the wind-down agreements Saturn dealers recently signed with GM.
"Saturn customers and owners will continue to be able to purchase and have their vehicles serviced at Saturn retailers during this process. Once the wind down is complete, Saturn owners will still be able to have their vehicles serviced at other GM dealerships. We will be communicating with our customers very soon to explain the next steps in this process," Henderson stated.