Penske Automotive Group to Buy Saturn

GM has narrowed its potential buyers list for Saturn down to one, the Penske Automotive Group. According to the New York Times, GM will announce a sales agreement with Penske later today.

Penske Automotive Group is led by famous racecar driver Roger Penske. The Penske Automotive Group currently owns 310 car dealerships across the country as well as a truck rental company. Penske is also the sole U.S. distributor of the smart car brand.

The sale to Penske will save 13,000 Saturn employees’ jobs, according to The Detroit News. The sale of Saturn will most likely have little effect on brand’s model lineup. According to the NYT, GM will continue to supply vehicles to Saturn immediately following the sale.

The only big change we see in the immediate future is that Penske could use its national network of Saturn dealerships to sell smart cars. Don’t be too surprised if you see your local Saturn dealer selling the smart fortwo in the coming months.

Eventually, Penske plans for Saturn to sell cars sourced from Korean automaker Renault Samsung. Renault is partnered with Nissan, and all of the vehicles currently for sale by Renault Samsung are based on Nissan models.

Renault Samsung’s current lineup consists of three cars and a small crossover SUV all based on Japanese Nissan models but built by Samsung. The QM5 crossover is visually similar to, but mechanically different from the Nissan Rogue. The SM7, along with the lower priced SM5, are based on the Nissan Altima. The SM3 is a compact car smaller than the Sentra but larger then the Versa.

Penske hasn’t made any official announcements describing which Samsung cars it plans to import as Saturns, but the Korean company has a similar range of vehicles to Saturn’s current lineup. Saturn could replace its current crop of GM-made vehicles with ones made by Samsung and not leave any gaping holes in its model lineup.

The Renault Samsung QM5 crossover is one of the cars Penske Group will probably want to import for the Saturn brand first.

Picture via Renault.