September 30, 2009

GM ending production of Saturn brand

General Motors Co. said it would end production of the 19-year old Saturn brand after Michigan's Penske Automotive Group Inc. ended talks on rescuing the car.

Penske said Wednesday it had terminated talks with GM over the possible purchase -- essentially the rescue -- of Saturn after a deal with another manufacturer to supply Saturn vehicles for Penske to sell had been rejected.

GM had put Saturn on the chopping block, along with Hummer and its European brands Opel and Vauxhall, as a prolonged sales slump amid a recession led to the company filing for bankruptcy protection this summer.

Penske announced its intentions to forge a Saturn rescue plan in June, but said Wednesday that concerns directly related to the future supply of vehicles had ended the effort.

GM had agreed to a supply Penske with Saturn for a limited time. Penske, not naming the third party, said negotiations with a manufacturer for future supplies was rejected by that manufacturer's board of directors.

GM Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson called the turn of events disappointing.

The collapse of the deal threatens 13,000 jobs and about 350 Saturn dealerships, reported.