May 5, 2009

Penske kicking Saturn’s tires

Penske Automotive Group Inc. says it is looking at purchasing the Saturn brand from U.S. auto giant General Motors Corp.

Penske was founded by Roger Penske, the former race car driver who owns Detroit Diesel Corp.,The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

He is also a shrewd businessman and has proven himself time and again, auto analyst Aaron Bragman of HIS Global Insight told the News.

In Detroit, he's a bit of a local hero, Bragman said.

Tony Pordon, a spokesman for Penske Automotive Group, confirmed the company is taking a look at Saturn. However, he called speculation the company will pick up the brand from GM very premature.

Bragman said he did not see a purchase forthcoming since GM, with all its skill and vehicles and brand power and marketing muscle could not make a profit from the brand.

Telesto Ventures, which includes private equity Black Oak Partners LLC and several Saturn dealerships, has also explored the option of buying Saturn, submitting a bid in April, the newspaper said.

Telesto envisions a partnership with a foreign manufacturer, distributing imports and Saturn brand cars through 439 North American Saturn dealerships, the News said.