Today, GM CEO Fritz Henderson announced that after months of talks and what seemed like a done deal, Penske Automotive Group has backed out of their tentative agreement to buy Saturn. Saturn, which was one of the first ill-fated brands to be trimmed from GM’s line-up during their bankruptcy proceedings, was rescued from the scrap heap in June when Penske put in an offer to buy the 24-year-old brand. Like a similar distribution agreement Penske currently has with Daimler AG and the smart brand, Penske planned to relieve The General of its responsibility as a distributor, leaving the individually-owned Saturn dealerships to continue to operate independently.
With Penske’s interest officially withdrawn, the Saturn brand will phased out.
“Today we learned that Penske Automotive Group (PAG) has decided to terminate discussions with General Motors to acquire Saturn. This is very disappointing news and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality. PAG’s announcement explained that their decision was not based on interactions with GM or Saturn retailers; rather it was because of the inability to source new products beyond what it had asked GM to build on contract.”
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.
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.
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.”