Friday, June 5, 2009

Roger Penske buys Saturn

Team Owner Roger Penske adds to his legacy and bought Saturn from GM today. Penske, whose NASCAR team uses the Dodge Charger, will continue to use GM to produce the Saturn for the next two years. They will be seeking another manufacturer to produce the Saturn Brand.

"We will have a supply of vehicles for at least two years with existing brands, and we have been in discussions during this diligence period with a number of manufacturers on a worldwide basis," Penske said Friday morning. "We would expect to have a lineup going forward, which would be manufactured by a worldwide partner."

Saturn will be owned by the Penske Automotive Group. Penske said he hopes retired Chrysler President Tom LaSorda, who was advising Penske on the deal, will have a role with the company.

The deal is expected to close in the late third quarter. A price was not disclosed.

Penske has made a name for himself by taking struggling companies and fixing them, such as Hertz Truck Leasing in the 1980s and Detroit Diesel in the 1990s.

In 1999, he invested $83 million into United Auto Group Inc., now called the Penske Automotive Group. The group is the second-largest auto dealer in the United States and is the sole U.S. distributor of the Smart car.

Penske said he would not be combining Saturn and Smart car operations.

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