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No Penske deal means end of the road for Saturn

Consumer Reports News: September 30, 2009 05:18 PM

General Motors has announced that it will wind down its Saturn division, rather than sell it. GM had been in negotiations to sell Saturn to the Penske Automotive Group, a dealer conglomerate run by auto racing magnate Roger Penske.
The move reportedly comes after Penske was unable to secure new products beyond the proposed contract with GM to continue building Saturn cars through 2011.
The news may be a blow to current Saturn owners who now may face the closure of all Saturn dealerships and will have to find other GM dealers to service existing vehicles.
The breakdown of this deal marks the latest failure of the dedicated contract manufacturing business model in car sales. Since several large dealership groups have incorporated as public companies over the past dozen years, several of these dealer bodies have looked for an automaker with excess factory capacity to build cars for it. So far, none have borne fruit.

Among the Saturn Astra, Aura, Outlook, Sky, and Vue, only the Aura XR V6 meets Consumer Reports' standards to be recommended.

Sadly, Saturn is sharing its fate with Pontiac. We will watch with interest to see what the future holds for Hummer and Saab.

Eric Evarts

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