Penske Might Buy Saturn

Automotive News reports that Roger Penske is interested in buying Saturn from General Motors.

My pal Jamie LaReau, a reporter at Automotive News, just published a short piece in their online edition indicating that Roger Penske is interested in buying the Saturn brand, including of course its dealership agreements, from General Motors. This is exciting news.

Roger Penske is like Midas. Everything he touches turns to gold, whether it's his many hugely successful racing teams, his ownership of Detroit Diesel Corporation, or his vast network of car dealerships covering many brands. He is a very wise and astute businessman, especially when it comes to anything having to do with the retail automotive sector, so his interest in Saturn underscores the fact that Saturn, despite its years of neglect at GM (prior to the current lineup of very good cars), is one helluva brand.

A lot of people who buy Saturns have only the vaguest idea that their cars are made by GM, and they are very loyal to the brand. My old friend Ben Johnson had a ratty old Saturn SL1 sedan that he basically drove into the ground. When it finally gave up the ghost about a year and a half ago, there was no question in Ben's mind that he would buy another Saturn, and he did: an Aura. He liked the dealership treatment, he doesn't really care about cars, and the Aura was, you know, like a Cadillac by comparison with his old SL.

What I'm saying is that Saturn is arguably the least tainted brand in GM's portfolio. If GM goes bankrupt, a wise man like Penske could scoop up the Saturn brand and all of its residual goodwill from the highly effective 1990s marketing campaigns, source good cars from a variety of automakers (everyone in the world has excess capacity, after all), and make a killing just as soon as this economy rebounds.

A good amount of time has past since GM abandoned the mark, winning back a customer base that was discarded would not sit well with me. But if any body has a good chance at reviving Saturn I would bet on Mr. Penske. He would be wise to use the same dealership program sales tactics. That was a unique way to sell vehicles no hidden charges, 1 non-negotiable price. I can understand the the need for this concept, Allot of people are not car people they just want a good reliable, safe,affordable means of transportation. I don't think they are into brand name game that much.
Its one thing to be a merchandiser. Something else to be a manufacturer. This will not be like Detroit Diesel. But I guess if a private individual can make it work it might be Penske. As the owner of a Saturn Vue - I can say its terrific for what it is.The line now needs diesels to fill out the product range.They can use Opel technology for this...Also Saturn has the best dealers and customer service. GM should have kept and extended the product line as this was the only line they had in place for the times.Too bad Obama selected non-car guys to run his plan. Too many bean counters is what is wrong with the industry now.Nothing happens until a sale is made - The current administration doesn't seem to get it.
It's ashame the president axed Saturn from the GM line up, because they were finally getting things right with bringing in rebadged opels. I think if they bothered with half the advertising for Saturn that they did in the early 90s, I think it could have worked. I seriously can not remember the last time I saw a TV commercial for Saturn. I realise it is a case of too little too late, and the claim of wanting to be an American Acura was a bit too laughable, but I think another 2 years for Saturn and even Pontiac would have done wonders, especially with their new imported cars.

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