Penske purchase of Saturn confirmed
Automotive and motorsports entrepreneur Roger Penske’s Penske Automotive Group has signed an agreement to purchase Saturn from General Motors by the end of the third quarter. Saturn will be wholly owned by Penske Automotive, the nation’s second-largest auto dealership group.
The deal, which was confirmed this morning via a media conference call, had been in the works for some time, and will save nearly 350 dealerships and about 13,000 jobs related to Saturn, according to Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak.
“We expect to offer all 350 franchises a new franchise agreement,” said Penske, who appeared on the conference call with Lajdziak. “We expect to take this network, which to me is one of the best in the business, and give an opportunity to each retailer to go forward.”
The deal marks GM’s second agreement to sell a brand since its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Monday. On Tuesday, GM said it had concluded a preliminary agreement to sell Hummer to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. GM is also attempting to sell its Saab brand, and has announced that the Pontiac brand will be shut down.
Penske said he wants Lajdziak to join his company in a management role once he completes the Saturn transaction. He also wants to employ former Chrysler LLC co-President Tom LaSorda. Penske Automotive hired LaSorda last month as a consultant on his bid to buy Saturn.
The new Saturn will continue to sell the GM-built Aura sedan and the Vue and Outlook crossovers for at least two years. Beyond that, Penske said he is in discussions with “a number of worldwide manufacturers” to broaden the lineup.