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Auto retail mogul Penske mulling bid for Saturn

Roger Penske says he is contemplating a bid for the Saturn automotive brand that General Motors Corp. plans to sell or shut down.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Roger Penske said Friday that he know he’s operating in a “short time frame” if he wants to bid for the Saturn brand of General Motors Corp.

Penske said his company, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Penske Automotive Group Inc., hasn’t yet made an offer for Saturn. Penske Automotive confirmed Monday it had an interest in Saturn.

GM is looking to sell or phase out Saturn by the end of the year as it races to a meet a government-imposed June 1 deadline to restructure or seek bankruptcy protection.

Roger Penske acknowledged that a decision on an offer would have to come soon while saying that a number of unspecified details need to be worked out.

GM said earlier this week that several parties expressed interest in buying the brand and its dealerships.

Penske has a vested interest in the automotive industry. Penske Automotive owns the second-largest U.S. automobile retail chain in terms of sales, Bloomfield Hills. Penske also owns heavy-duty engine manufacturer Detroit Diesel and has race teams in the IndyCar, NASCAR and Grand-Am series.

“Saturn, obviously, is one of the divisions which General Motors is either going to sell or close down and we have a distribution experience bringing the Smart Car into the United States,” he said.

“At this particular time, we’ve made no offer to GM, we’re in a due diligence stage, and it’s a very short time frame,” Penske added.