General Motors announced a proposed deal for Penske Automotive Group to buy Saturn, just two days after announcing an intended buyer for its Hummer brand.
Penske is one of the largest dealer networks in the country. In a joint news conference Penske chairman Roger Penske and Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak said the sale will save more than 350 Saturn dealerships and 13,000 related jobs.
Under the agreement, Saturn stores will continue to sell the Aura sedan, Vue SUV and three-row Outlook SUV through at least 2011. Beyond that, trade publication AutoWeek has reported that Penske plans a deal to sell cars built by Renault-Samsung motors of Korea. In the press conference today, however, Penske said he hopes to continue building Saturns in the United States.
The deal is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2009. Once completed, it should resolve issues of where Saturn owners can get warranty service for their cars.
Penske Automotive Group operates 310 retail automotive franchises, representing 40 different brands and 25 collision repair centers. In addition, it is the exclusive distributor of the Smart ForTwo in the United States and Puerto Rico.
No word on whether future Saturns may show up in Penske’s NASCAR racing operation.
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