In seemingly surprising development, efforts to save the Saturn brand ended Wednesday as Penske Automotive Group backed out of a plan to buy the General Motors subsidiary. According Penske, the plan was terminated because of issues with the supply of vehicles beyond the supply period it had negotiated with GM. Fritz Henderson, CEO of GM, said Saturn and its 340-member dealership network will be phased out. The process will begin immediately.
“This is very disappointing news and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality,” said Henderson. “Today’s disappointing news comes at a time when we’d hoped for a successful launch of the Saturn brand into a new chapter.”
Saturn, based in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and with 13,000 employees, was thought to have escaped the fate of Pontiac (termination) when Penske announced its plan to acquire the brand. Under its initial agreement with GM, Penske would source future Saturn vehicles from a third-party source after an initial period (at least two-years) of GM-sourced vehicles ended. However, it seems that talks with these third-party sources, which included Samsung and Renault, have been unsuccessful.
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