Friday, June 5, 2009
Dismantling of General Motors picks up speed
News from Detroit that General Motors Corp. had agreed to sell its Saturn brand to Penske Automotive Group Inc. seems to be good news for 13,000 Saturn employees but not such good news for the largest U.S. automaker. The dismantling of bankrupt GM, which sought bankruptcy protection Monday, raises real doubts about whether the automotive giant will ever emerge as a viable company. GM has already agreed to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese company and its Saab subsidiary to a fellow Swedish automaker, Koenigsegg Automotive AG of Angelholm. GM and Penske plan to complete the sale of the brand and its 350 dealerships by this summer, according to the Reuters international news service. GM has said it plans to reorganize in bankruptcy court and return as a smaller company concentrating on its core brands, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac, Reuters said. Penske, which operates hundreds of car and truck dealerships and supply stores across the United States and Britain from its headquarters in Bloomfield, Mich., was one of more than a dozen bidders for Saturn, which was created by GM in 1984 and began selling cars in 1990. GM announced it would sell the Saturn brand in February. Under the agreement with Penske, GM will continue to build the Saturn Aura, Vue and Outlook as a Penske contractor, Reuters said.