This just in; Saturn will soon be history as Penske Automotive Group (PAG) announced today that it has ceased discussions with General Motors to buy the nameplate, ultimately sealing the fate of the brand. The automotive retailer said that it terminated the talks not because of a disagreement with GM, but due to concerns related to the future supply of vehicles beyond the agreed period it had negotiated with the Detroit maker.
In particular, Penske had negotiated a deal with General Motors to source its vehicles on a contract-manufactured basis for a specific period of time, after which, the company would source vehicles from another maker under a similar contract-manufacturing agreement.
Penske said that it had negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement with another manufacturer (not GM, a third party), however as it turned out, the unnamed manufacturer's board of directors rejected the agreement."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," said Penske in a prepared statement.
GM said that it just learned about Penske's decision to terminate talks noting that the news is "very disappointing" and that it "comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality."
"As a result of PAG's decision, we will be winding down the Saturn brand and dealership network, in accordance with the wind-down agreements that Saturn dealers recently signed with GM. Pursuant to the terms of those agreements, the wind down process will be determined and communicated shortly," said GM's President and CEO, Fritz Henderson.
General Motors said that Saturn customers and owners will continue to be able to buy and service their vehicles at Saturn retailers during this process while when the wind down is complete, they will be able to service their cars at other GM dealerships.
"Today's disappointing news comes at a time when we'd hoped for a successful launch of the Saturn brand into a new chapter. 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. I'd also like to thank every GM employee and Saturn retailer who worked so hard to try to make this new beginning happen for Saturn," said Henderson.