Another potential savior of the Saturn brand has emerged in the form of a joint effort by Nissan and the Penske Automotive Group. Similar to previous plans that would keep intact Saturns nearly 400 dealerships, Penske would operate the business with the actual vehicles supplied by Nissan or Renault.
The benefit to Nissan in this arrangement would be to keep their North American factories working closer to capacity after sales last year fell by close to a third. Chief Executive Officer Roger Penske confirmed the company’s interest in Saturn on May 4th saying, “We’ve looked at Saturn. We look at a lot of opportunities. It would be premature to say we’re anywhere close to a deal.” The urgency for GM is mounting in the face of a June 1 deadline to cut debt and other costs or file for bankruptcy protection while eliminating four of its eight U.S. automotive brands. A potential Penske group purchase is just one of several interested buyers of the brand that was launched in 1990.