Saturn deal stalls

Saturn vehicles are about to become collector cars. General Motors Co. confirmed on Wednesday that a deal to sell the brand to Penske Automotive Group Inc. has fallen through, and the line will be discontinued.

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Saturn vehicles are about to become collector cars.

General Motors Co. confirmed on Wednesday that a deal to sell the brand to Penske Automotive Group Inc. has fallen through, and the line will be discontinued.

The two companies announced in June that Penske planned to buy the Saturn network from GM, with GM to continue producing Saturn vehicles until 2011. But Penske said in a statement Wednesday that an agreement with another manufacturer to produce Saturns after GM stopped had collapsed.

“Without that agreement, the company has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibit the company from moving forward with this transaction,” said the company.

Dean Moe, manager of Gary Moe Saturn in Red Deer, said Penske had previously decided not to take over the Saturn brand in Canada, where there are about 45 dealerships. The one his family operates in Red Deer will continue as a pre-owned vehicle dealer with the name Gary Moe Used Car Superstore.

“We’ve sent a letter to all of our customers regarding that,” said Moe.

“Not a soul in our facility is losing their job.”

The changeover is scheduled to take place Dec. 31, but Gary Moe Saturn is already down to about 25 to 30 new vehicles, said Moe.

Some renovations will be done at the dealership, which will maintain its service department. Moe expects many of the dealership’s past customers will continue to bring their vehicles there.

“There are a ton of Saturns not on warranty,” he said, pointing out that Gary Moe Used Car Superstore will have technicians trained to work on those cars.

“All my techs are going to stay here.”

Saturns that are still under warranty can be taken to any GM dealership after Dec. 31.

The Saturn brand is one of four that GM is trimming from its roster as part of restructuring efforts, with Pontiac to be wound up and Hummer and Saab sold. It dates back to 1983, when it was launched as a way to compete with Japanese imports.

Moe said it’s disappointing to see the brand come to an end, but he’s pleased the Red Deer dealership will survive.

“We’re not going broke, we’re still here and we’re still going to be selling quality used cars.”

The other stores in the Gary Moe Auto Group are Gary Moe Mazda, Gary Moe Hyundai and Gary Moe Volkswagen.

“We’ll still have used car operations at all of our other stores,” said Moe.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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