Saturn to Become Different Kind of Car Company
Going back to 1990, Saturn
was billed as not being like other car companies. That may have been true,
at least in some respects, but under General Motors it was quite often
just like other auto manufacturers.
Now that a deal has been
reached for Roger Penske to acquire Saturn, it seems that the company is
really on the verge of becoming different. For one, Penske is the second
largest auto dealer in the U.S. behind AutoNation. Traditionally, car companies
have had the strong hand in relationships with dealers. They produced the car, established
promotions and dealers bought in or eventually stopped being a dealer.
Now, the dealer will
be leading the process and it will be up to the manufacturing end of the
business to respond. In the case of Penske/Saturn, USA Today reports
that it may mean that the company farms out production
specs and manufacturing to factories in places such as China and India
where the product can be produced cheaply and turned around more quickly.
market analyst at kbb.com, told USA Today, said Penske’s purchase
of Saturn, should it go through, promises to create
“a new business model in this industry… The distribution side of the
business controls the brand, and manufacturing is conducted by one or more
Will Saturn become a different kind of car company under the ownership of Roger Penske? What will
it mean for the auto industry in the U.S. and beyond?