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Saturn goes into a spin

Saturn Astra (copyright image)

America's Saturn Astra is a GM import from Europe.

Home > News > GM > Saturn

by Stephen Walker

1st October, 2009

With the financial failure of General Motors earlier this year, the company had announced that their Saturn brand would be discontinued. However, America's Penske Automotive Group had expressed an interest in the brand. Subsequently, GM and Penske entered into an agreement that would see Penske take over the brand and GM would supply products for a two year period to the new entity.

However, yesterday Penske advised General Motors that they (Penske) could not guarantee the sourcing of vehicles beyond the two year period that GM were to supply vehicles. Hence, Penske took the view that the take-over could not be justified. Without an ongoing supply of vehicles Saturn would ultimately fail. GM, unable to take Saturn to a profitable future, will now wind-up the brand that was once trumpeted as a 'good thing' for the Detroit-based vehicle manufacturer.

GM, a company dependent upon tax payer funding, required a settlement by 30th September 2009 for the Saturn sale to meet legal requirements in USA. Whilst continuing supply of European sourced vehicles would seem a logical course for a new Penske-led Saturn, GM's failure to settle on the partial sale of GM Europe meant no meaning negotiations could continue on the ongoing supply of Opel cars.

Meanwhile, final details of the sale of GM Europe remain 'up in the air'. Apparently GM indicate they are still reviewing the finer aspects of the sale contracts and analysing the complex nature of the contracts. Sceptics would suggest that GM is still playing various European governments against each other so they (GM) can maximise the European tax payer cash hand-out. Seemingly, in my view, GM continues to believe tax payer money is the best way to maintain the company's future.


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