In case anyone missed the news, Saturn was sold to the Penske Auto Group. For the uninitiated, Penske's an automotive conglomerate to put it mildly. Basically if it's got wheels or has something to do with transportation, chances are this group has a piece of the action. The company is the second largest automotive car dealer in the country. They also have their own u-haul truck business. And yes, they do racecars.
But what has me intrigued, is that one of their biggest businesses has to do with diesel engines and other motor parts. The company has said that it has wanted to enter the car industry besides retail and parts for a long time. They've also been a big promotor of diesel, and one wonders now if Saturn will be a platform to show off that engine's potential. GM will not be at a loss either, as for the time being, they will be a contract manufacturer for Penske.
Could we be seeing the entrance of a new member into the old Big 3 or the establishment of a new North American grouping. The old order is essentially dead, except for Ford and they are surviving only because of some fancy financing. Chrysler is exiting bankruptcy, but it's shotgun wedding to Italian automaker, Fiat, is now an uncertainty. GM has only started on the path of rebuilding. The forecast of the Detroit three still remains cloudy. Ford is hoping it's financed cash horde will last until car sales pick up. Chrysler and GM have both stated that they need autosales to be at least 10 million just to break even.
Regarding Saturn, Penske purchased some assets and the brand. Roger Penske, the company's chairman, has stated that he wants to keep all 13,000 employees. But will Penske continue to contract out manufacturing to General Motors or seek new avenues for production? The company could build it's own plants in the US, or it could also contract out to foreign manufacturers.
So does this open the door to a "new generation" of domestic automakers? There are currently a host of new entrants into the market, but all are struggling at the moment. California-based Testla claims it will have an all-electric sedan out soon and is trying to meet demand on the Roadster (they are even opening up seven new dealerships). Others include Canadian outfit, ZENN, which has been selling electric "microcars," has seen expanding car sales. There are a slew of other electric car companies, not to mention those of the more "old fashioned" variety. Now we have Penske's Saturn.