Two dealers with a vital interest in the survival of the Saturn brand are elated that megadealer Roger Penske's firm plans to buy the division from a downsizing General Motors Corp.
“We're thrilled,” says Todd Ingersoll, owner of Saturn of Danbury in Danbury, CT, a new facility that opened in July, months before GM announced plans to shed itself of Saturn. At the time, the new store was called “a vote of confidence in the division's future.”
“I'd be more than pleased to be in the Roger Penske distribution network,” says George Nahas, owner of two Saturn stores in Florida. “It's better than being killed off, that's for sure.”
Nahas has been there, done that. He originally was a single-point Oldsmobile dealer. When GM killed off that division, Nahas received Saturn franchises in return. “The only thing I have left is Saturn,” he says.
The GM-Penske Saturn deal is expected to close in the year's third quarter. Financial terms have yet to be announced.
GM would continue production, on a contract basis, of the Saturn Aura midsize sedan, Vue midsize cross/utility vehicle and Outlook large CUV. Penske would sell those vehicles through more than 350 Saturn dealerships, then find a new supplier of vehicles.
“Saturn has a passionate customer base and an outstanding dealer network,” says Penske, chairman of the Penske Automotive Group in Bloomfield Hills, MI, a 149-store dealership chain, ranked No.2 on the Ward's Megadealer 100.
“All of sudden, being a Saturn dealer doesn't seem so bad after all,” Nahas tells Ward's.