Future Saturns may be built in South Korea

May 25, 2009

As the June 1st deadline for General Motors’ restructuring looms closer, bidding for the struggling automaker’s sale items is becoming more and more intense. One of these sale items is Saturn, which has been drawing plenty of interest from potential buyers including from the likes of Roger Penske and his associated Penske Automotive Group.

Though GM has said it might arrange contract manufacturing for Saturn, it's more likely the brand would need to find cars from another automaker to sell. One such automaker is the French-South Korean partnership Renault-Samsung, whose boss, Carlos Ghosn, is reportedly in talks with Penske over a deal to supply South Korean manufactured vehicles for sale through Saturn’s existing dealer network.

The information comes from people close to the matter who have revealed to Automotive News that Penske’s plan only requires about 250 of the 384 Saturn dealerships currently in the the U.S. and that one of the first models could be the Renault-Samsung QM5 midsize crossover.

Penske did confirm earlier this month that he has an interest in the Saturn brand and just last week his company hired ex-Chrysler president Tom LaSorda to advise on the bidding process. Standing in his way, however, are investment group Telesto Ventures, Oklahoma City-based private equity firm Black Oak Partners, and Magna International, all of which are rumored to be in the bidding as well.

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