With its June 1 deadline to complete its restructuring inching closer, General Motors is moving fast to rid itself of some dead weight. So far GM wants to let go Saturn, HUMMER and Saab, with the intention to kill off Pontiac. It has began taking bids for both Saturn and Saab. There is a report that Renault is now interested in Saturn. Similarly, it is reported that Chinese automaker Chery has placed a bid to acquire Saab.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Renault is holding discussions with Penske Automotive Group Inc., a chain of about 300 auto dealerships world-wide that is in talks with GM about acquiring Saturn, people familiar with the matter said. If Penske takes over Saturn, it will need an auto maker to supply vehicles to be sold through the about 400 Saturn dealers across the U.S. Renault likely wants to fill this role and use the Saturn dealerships as a launching pad to reenter the U.S. market.
As for thee Swedish automaker Saab, it is currently being reorganized into an independent company but needs financing. According to the Wall Street Journal, GM is talking to “three to four” bidders, including Geely.
Geely’s bid for Saab comes just weeks after it submitted a bid for Ford’s Volvo unit, also based in Sweden. The Saab bid could be designed to pressure Ford to respond to Geely’s bid, or to raise Geely’s chances of obtaining a foreign car maker in case the Volvo effort fails. Details of Geely’s bid for Saab couldn’t be determined.
These new developments are a strong sign of the shakeup that is taking place in the automotive industry. By the time it is over, fewer car makers will be around.