Will Roger Penske Save Saturn?
Short answer: no. But that doesn’t stop The Detroit News from practically begging the man they say “has accomplished almost everything in the auto industry” to reach for the stars. Er, planets. “We have been offered an opportunity to look at Saturn,” say Penske Automotive Group spokesfolks. But “it’s very premature to assume anything will be done. I can confirm to you that we are looking at it.” And that’s enough to get Motown’s cheerleaders all hot and bothered. Motor Trend‘s pick for Car Czar negotiating with the UAW’s pick for Car Czar (now GM advisor on the Saturn “sale”) negotiating the fate of GM’s best dealer network? Sign me up for that smoke-filled room!
Except that the “negotiations” are likely headed nowhere fast. GM is entertaining at least two other offers, one from private equity group Black Oak Partners, LLC and several Saturn dealers, the other from Telesto Ventures. The latter could even see GM products sold under the Saturn brand for several more years (Saturn dealers, rejoice!).
Sadly for Penske boosters, Automotive News [sub] reports that Penske Automotive Group has seen its Q1 earnings drop by 50 percent with sales down about 30 percent. Also, Penske is a smart cookie. According to AN, “about two-thirds of Penske sales come from premium brands and 30 percent from foreign brands. Only 5 percent of its sale stem from Detroit 3 brands.”
Why change that now?
Robert.Walter, The Jeep/Hummer trademark case was interesting because both parties had legitimate claims. The Hummer looks like a Jeep because the original HumVee was designed and built by AM General, the defense division of AMC when it owned Jeep. Now, the 7 slot grille and "face" of the Wrangler are fully protected trade dress. BTW, speaking of people respected around Detroit, Dave Bing, former NBA great and owner of Bing Steel, was just elected mayor of Detroit. Now if the voters there only get rid of the lunatics on the city council starting with Monica Conyers. I suspect Ken Cockrel, defeated by Bing, will run for city council again and if he gets the most votes he'll replace Conyers as city council president.
Saturn does have a cool logo. That is basically the only value of the company now.
@ menno AMC has fans? I think I would buy a Penske Saturn before I'd buy an AMC Saturn...
Well, here it is one month later, June 5th, and all the naysayers look mighty silly right now. Good luck to Roger, good luck to Saturn, and too bad for all the negative posters who had nothing good to say. It's never smart to gloat. Life's got a way of throwin' it back at ya'.