Penske Empire to Purchase Saturn Brand and 350 Dealerships from GM.

DETROIT, June 4, 2009 -- General Motors Corp. announced today a tentative deal to sell its Saturn brand and 350 Saturn dealerships to former race car driver and dealership group owner Roger Penske.

GM will continue to produce the Saturn Aura sedan in addition to the Vue and Outlook SUVs on a contractual basis. However, Penske said he is in negotiations with manufacturers around the world about building Saturn cars in the future.

"We will be selling as many GM cars -- a many GM-produced cars -- under the Saturn brand as possible," Penske told reporters in a conference call.

The Penske Automotive Group also distributes Daimler AG's Smart subcompacts in the U.S., but Smart has its own dealership network. Saturn dealers will continue to exclusively distribute Saturn vehicles. Penske said that he expects to offer all the dealers new franchise agreements and will retain all 13,000 Saturn employees for the immediate term.

Despite a cult-like following that drew thousands to annual reunions in Spring Hill, Tennessee, the Saturn brand never made money for GM. The Spring Hill factory stopped making Saturns in 2007 and currently builds only the Chevrolet Traverse. The Aura is built at GM's factory at Kansas City, Kansas. The Outlook is built in Lansing, Michigan and the Vue is built in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

Penske retired from professional race car driving in 1965 and now owns an empire that includes worldwide truck leasing and ownership of hundreds of auto dealerships. Penske Racing currently owns a NASCAR team that includes drivers Kurt Busch, David Stremme and Sam Hornish, Jr. The Penske racing organization also own an Indy Racing League team with Hélio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe as drivers.

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