UPDATE: Roger Penske confirms Saturn interest
Roger Penske today confirmed published reports that his Penske Automotive Group is a potential buyer for General Motors' Saturn brand.
In a media conference call, Penske, owner of racing teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, IndyCar Series and Grand-Am Rolex Series, and chairman of the Penske Automotive Group dealership chain, which distributes Daimler AG’s Smart microcars in the United States, emphasized that no offer has been made by his company.
"While I confirm that we have an interest in looking at the future opportunities of the Saturn brand, Penske Automotive has not made a proposal to General Motors for this business, and the timeframe involved is extremely tight," Penske said. "We buy and sell dealerships as part of our normal operations; we have the experience in the distribution business and are constantly looking for opportunities to grow our business and further diversify the operation of Penske Automotive Group."
The Wall Street Journal first broke the story late Monday that Penske was considering making an offer for the brand, which GM has put up for sale as a part of its on-going efforts at cutting costs.
An investment group, Telesto Ventures, has also expressed interest in acquiring Saturn’s retail operations. Telesto wants to provide Saturn dealers with vehicles from GM through 2011, after which it would source product from overseas manufacturers.