Roger Penske today confirmed reports that he has interest in General Motors' Saturn brand.
But Penske, chairman of Penske Automotive Group Inc., emphasized that no offers have been made and hinted that GMs goal for a quick sale may not help a deal.
While I confirm that we have an interest in looking at the future opportunities of the Saturn brand, Penske Automotive has not made a proposal to General Motors for this business, and the timeframe involved is extremely tight, Penske said in a conference call today.
We buy and sell dealerships as part of our normal operations; we have the experience in the distribution business and are constantly looking for opportunities to grow our business and further diversify the operation of Penske Automotive Group.
Penske, whose dealership group distributes Daimler AGs Smart microcars in the United States, is the second entity to express an interest in Saturn.
In April, an investor group called Telesto Ventures said it wants to acquire Saturn's retail operations and provide dealers with vehicles from GM through 2011. After that, most vehicles would come from overseas manufacturers.
GM intends to divest Saturn "as fast as possible," said Steve Girsky, the former Wall Street analyst whose S.J. Girsky & Co. is helping the automaker review potential buyers. He said GM is vetting the plans of a number of interested carmakers and dealer operators. He declined to comment further.
The Wall Street Journal reported Penskes interest late yesterday.
Penske, 72, is CEO of the suburban Detroit dealership group, which ranks No. 2 behind AutoNation Inc. on the Automotive News list of the top 125 U.S. auto retailers with 2008 new-vehicle sales of 171,872.